President Donald Trump has introduced the broad outlines of his proposal for immigration reform. The “merit and heart system” focuses on security and establishing a more fully merit-based system for permanent residence (“green card”) status.

What do we know about the proposal so far?

In terms of security, it includes:

  • Construction of parts of the Southern Border Wall at 33 key areas to thwart drug and human trafficking
  • Further restrictions on asylum claims
  • Allowing longer detentions of immigrant families at the border

In terms of legal immigration, it includes:

  • No reduction in overall numbers of immigrants, but a change in priorities
  • Family based immigration will be reduced – only spouses and children will go to the “front of the line”
  • Merit-based immigration will be increased
  • Similar to naturalization requirements, merit-based immigration would include an English-language requirement and a civics test

According to the President, the new criteria will be “crystal clear.”  The merit-based system will focus on younger workers who can contribute to the economy for a longer period time who also possess:

  • Valuable skills
  • Job offers
  • Advanced education
  • Ability to create jobs for U.S. workers
  • Higher wages
  • Financial self-sufficiency

The security proposals are not apt to gain much Democratic support.  Moreover, the proposal does not include some items key to bi-partisan support.  There is no mention of the over 11 million undocumented individuals currently in the U.S. and there is no mention of the “Dreamers.”

Jared Kushner, White House Advisor, has worked on this proposal for months.  Whether it will morph into a bill or simply be used by Congress as it works to come to some sort agreement is yet to be seen.  Regardless of its prospects of ever becoming law, the expectation is that this proposal will be a key part of President Trump’s 2020 campaign messaging.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.