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President Trump unveils new immigration plan to prioritize “totally brilliant” immigrants

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump’s immigration plan (all times local):

3 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the immigration plan he’s proposing would prioritize “totally brilliant” immigrants.

Trump on Thursday laid out a merit-based plan that would give preferential treatment to high-skilled workers. He says right now the U.S. immigration laws “discriminate against genius” and “discriminate against brilliance” because most of the green cards are given to low-skilled people who would make low wages.

Under the plan, the country would award the same number of green cards as it now does. But far more would go to exceptional students, professionals and people with high-level and vocational degrees. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would also be considered.

Far fewer green cards would be given to people with relatives already in the U.S. Fifty-seven percent would be awarded on merit as opposed to the current 12%.

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2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is laying out a new immigration plan to convince the public and lawmakers that the U.S. legal migration system needs to be overhauled.

Trump, speaking Thursday in the Rose Garden, says his plan aims to create a “fair, modern and lawful system of immigration for the United States.” He says: “It’s about time.”

The latest effort, spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the nation’s green card system so that it would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.

The plan is not yet embraced by his own party – let alone Democrats – and faces an uphill battle in Congress.

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1:35 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump’s emphasis on merit-based immigration is “condescending” because families have merit, too.

Trump is unveiling a new immigration proposal and Pelosi told reporters she welcomes White House officials who want to come to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers.

But shifting away from a family-based immigration system to one that favors immigrants with high skills is running into resistance from Democrats.

Pelosi said they want to attract “the best to our country.” But she asked if Trump means family is without merit. She said it’s what merit means “in the eyes of Donald Trump.”

Trump’s plan does not include protections for immigrants known as Dreamers, and Pelosi said Democrats want to help those young people who were brought here illegally in childhood.

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10:25 a.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump’s immigration plan doesn’t include young “Dreamer” immigrants because past plans involving them have failed.

Trump, who’s rolling out his plan later Thursday, has dismayed Democrats by trying to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA protects hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

Sanders tells reporters that “every single time that we have put forward or anyone else has put forward any type of immigration plan that has included DACA it’s failed.”

Trump’s latest plan has been spearheaded by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. It focuses on border security and overhauling the legal immigration system to favor people with skills, rather than favoring family ties.

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12:05 a.m.

A new immigration proposal from President Donald Trump focuses on bolstering border security and rethinking the green card system.

The shift would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.

Trump is scheduled to roll out the plan Thursday afternoon at the White House. Democrats already criticizing it, and some Republicans have reservations as well.

The plan, as previewed by the White House, doesn’t address the millions of immigrants already living in the country illegally. They include hundreds of thousands of young “Dreamers” brought to the U.S. as children. Their fate is a priority for Democrats.

The plan also doesn’t reduce overall rates of immigration, as many conservatives would like to see.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

Associated Press

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