Trump outlines policies on immigration reform, border security

  • 9 October 2017
  • NormanL
Trump outlines policies on immigration reform, border security

The Trump administration has sent Congress a broad agenda for immigration reform that includes tougher enforcement, increased border security, and a new system for handling immigrants.

On border security, the Administration seeks full funding for a wall along the Meican border. But it goes further:

The Trump administration will propose reforming laws regarding unaccompanied minor children, or UACs, so that they may be "expeditiously returned to their countries." The effect of doing so will help lift the burden on the backlog of asylum requests, which currently has more than 500,000 people waiting to have their cases heard by a judge.

An additional 370 immigration judges, 1,000 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys, and 300 federal prosecutors will also be requested as a means of clearing the backlogs.

Trump also wants harsher penalties for people who attempt to re-enter the U.S. after being deported and will ask for Kate's Law to be included in any congressional reforms to immigration policy. The bill would increase the penalties for illegal immigrants who are caught trying to return to the U.S. after being deported.

Regarding enforcement, the Administration wants to put teeth into immigration laws:

The president wants 10,000 officers hired to supplement the 6,000 officers in ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations agency, which he first called for in his Jan. 25 executive order.

The move would focus primarily on visa overstayers, which make up the largest number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., not southern border trespassers.

Despite being dealt a setback by a federal judge in Illinois last month, the administration will ask Congress to limit grants for sanctuary cities that do not comply with federal detainer requests and create incentives for cities and states that do.

As for a new system for handling immigrants, the Administration seeks to move to a merit-based program along the lines proposed by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Georgia Sen. David Perdue:

In August, Trump endorsed the revised Raise Act. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia rolled out the update and touted it as a way to do away with a system that often benefits family members of current U.S. residents and replace it with one that weighs the skills sets of potential candidates and favors those who meet industry needs.

The RAISE Act marks a new approach to immigration reform than Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida attempted in 2013 with the "Gang of Eight" bill. It is the most significant type of green card reform since the GOP-majority Congress unsuccessfully tried to cut immigration numbers with a provision in 1996.

Family immigration categories would be narrowed to no longer include extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens. However, citizens are able to apply for renewable, temporary visas for elderly parents.

If passed, the 1 million legal immigrants who enter the U.S. annually would drop to somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 people by 2027, putting it in line with historic norms.

E-Verify, which gives employers a way to go online and check a job applicant's legal ability to work in the U.S., will also be required on a nationwide basis and government contactors who do not comply will see their contracts canceled.

The specifics of each policy area will have to be hammered out in Congress, which is also tackling a major tax overhaul and may still be looking for a way to ditch Obamacare