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President Donald Trump was set on Thursday afternoon to lay out his administration’s new plan to modernize the U.S. immigration system.
Senior administration officials told CNBC on Wednesday that the plan is designed to move the U.S. from a family-based immigration system toward an employment- and skills-based system. It will revamp the points system for U.S. citizenship applications to create a higher-income and more highly educated pool of people receiving citizenship, officials said.
The plan’s second major prong involves a physical infrastructure component that includes taking on illegal immigration by financing the construction of Trump’s long-promised border wall in “designated and prioritized areas,” officials said, through market-rate “fees on existing trade on the border which haven’t been changed in some time.”
Officials also said that that infrastructure section would pertain to creating new security at points of entry and inspecting all goods and people coming into the country.
The plan does not address the status of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children and had been shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the White House said. Trump tried to end the DACA program, which has protected about 700,000 so-called dreamers who were hoping for citizenship, but it is in place for now, due to court rulings.
High-level Trump administration officials, including senior advisor Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence, briefed Republican lawmakers about the plan this week. But the White House has spent little to no time pitching the plan to Democrats, who control the House and are more likely to oppose an immigration plan that doesn’t address DACA.
“What we’re doing is completing step one, which is having a proposal,” a senior administration official said Wednesday. “We’ll see how everyone reacts, and then we’ll see what step two and step three look like.”