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National Govt & Politics
Trump presses for legal immigration system based on merit
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Trump presses for legal immigration system based on merit

Trump presses for legal immigration system based on merit

Trump presses for legal immigration system based on merit

President Donald Trump set out plans on Thursday to retool the nation's legal immigration system, in order to bring more highly skilled workers to the United States, saying it was time to emphasize skill and smarts in deciding who gets a green card to live and work in America.

"We discriminate against brilliance," the President said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. "We won't anymore, once we get this passed."

"Only 12 percent of legal immigrants are selected based on skill, or based on merit," Mr. Trump added, as he said it's time to emphasize those qualities in order to draw more 'top talent' from abroad.

The President has long sought to limit so-called 'chain migration' - where extended family are allowed to follow someone who is legally admitted to the United States - and to do away with the visa lottery, which he argues is one example of how highly-skilled workers aren't getting a preference for a green card in America.

"Immigrants must be financially self-sufficient," the President said, making clear that his priority was in attracting higher wage workers and skilled talent - not only those currently in the work force overseas, but also foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities.

"Some of the most skilled students are going back home because they have no relatives to sponsor them in the United States," the President said, arguing that he wants those 'exceptional students' to stay and 'flourish' in America.

Mr. Trump also rolled out several proposals to deal with the current migrant surge at the southern border of the United States, proposing changes which would swiftly determine who is legitimately claiming asylum, and those who are not.

The immediate outlook for the plan in Congress was murky at best; the White House is not sending actual legislation to Capitol Hill on the subject, leaving any legislative lifting to Senate Republicans, who know that any big changes on immigration must be bipartisan in order to get through the Senate, and be approved by Democrats in the House.

The President's plan includes no provisions dealing with illegal immigrants already in the United States, or with the fate of so-called "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. at a young age by their parents.

"We have to, I believe, come to comprehensive immigration reform," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pointedly noted the President has talked about helping Dreamers in the past.

Asked about the President's emphasis on a 'merit' based system - Pelosi bluntly called that 'condescending.'

Allies of the President said they were ready to push ahead, though the path forward was not at all clear.

Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the only way anything would pass on immigration would be through compromise.

Graham vowed to hold a hearing on the subject, and then allow his committee to vote on actual legislation; no time frame has been announced, as the President made clear he believes if Democrats refuse to deal, it will help him in 2020.

"If for some reason - possibly political - we can't get Democrats to approve this merit-based, high security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election, when we take back the House, keep the Senate, and of course - hold the Presidency," Mr. Trump said to applause.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A 4-year-old Texas boy has died after an accidental shooting at a Memorial Day barbecue in San Antonio, authorities said. According to KABB and KSAT, the incident occurred Monday as the child and a 10-year-old boy were playing inside an Avant Avenue home. The children discovered a gun in a bedroom and began playing with the weapon, which discharged, striking the 4-year-old in the stomach, San Antonio police said. The boy later died at a nearby hospital. Authorities have not said who was holding the gun or what caused it to fire, KABB reported. The boys were alone in the bedroom at the time of the shooting, but several adults were inside and outside the home, police said. The investigation is ongoing, KSAT reported. Read more here or here.
  • Nearly 5.5 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Tuesday, May 26, continue below: US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths surpass 98K Published 1:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Tuesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,662,302 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,223 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 362,764 cases and 29,229 deaths and New Jersey with 155,092 cases and 11,147 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,271 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,416, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 112,017. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 51,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 96,400 cases, resulting in 3,769 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,925 cases, resulting in 5,146 deaths • Texas: 56,409 cases, resulting in 1,533 deaths • Michigan: 54,881 cases, resulting in 5,241 deaths • Florida: 51,746 cases, resulting in 2,252 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 13,458; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,178 and Kansas with 9,125; Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Universal Studios Orlando has announced it will reopen to the public June 5, but some passholders will get the chance to visit before then. Over the weekend, some passholders received an invite to visit the Florida theme park again June 3 or 4, WFTV reported. Universal has unveiled several new plans for how the park will implement new safety procedures. Social distancing starts when you park, with a space or two between vehicles. Everyone will be required to undergo a temperature check, and face coverings must be worn. There will also be new ride queue configurations for social distancing, and more virtual lines. Signs and announcements with the new rules throughout the park will also remind guests of the new policies. Other changes include more contactless pay options, and extra cleaning of equipment, especially at Volcano Bay.
  • The parents of Ahmaud Arbery have met with members of the Department of Justice as they investigate why it took so long to make an arrest in the murder case, their legal team said. Arbery, 25, was gunned down Feb. 23 as he went on a run near his home in Brunswick, Georgia. Travis James McMichael, 34, is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s slaying. His father, Gregory Johns McMichael, 64, is charged as a party to felony murder and aggravated assault. The legal team for Arbery’s family said the meeting with U.S. attorney for Georgia’s Southern District and the family happened late last week, WSB-TV reported. >> Ahmaud Arbery: Gregory and Travis McMichael charged with murder In a statement, the attorneys for Arbery’s parents said, in part: “This would involve the consideration both civil and criminal charges against state officials and conspirators involved in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. We left that meeting feeling satisfied that the DOJ would do their part to fully investigate all players involved in this murder and would hold those responsible accountable.” In a statement, the Department of Justice announced it is looking at federal hate crime charges in the case. “The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia have been supporting and will continue fully to support and participate in the state investigation. We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate. In addition, we are considering the request of the Attorney General of Georgia and have asked that he forward to federal authorities any information that he has about the handling of the investigation. We will continue to assess all information, and we will take any appropriate action that is warranted by the facts and the law.” Video of the shooting was leaked on social media earlier this month, prompting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to take over the case. Last week, the GBI announced a third arrest in the case against William “Robbie” Bryan, the man who shot the cellphone video showing the shooting that killed Arbery. The GBI charged Bryan with murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Critics say Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson mishandled the case from the beginning, before recusing herself. But Johnson said she was barely involved because suspect Greg McMichael used to be her chief prosecutor and that her office quickly pulled out of the investigation. But as she heads into a reelection campaign, Johnson now faces many questions and both federal and state investigations. In a recent interview with radio station WIFO-FM, Johnson blamed the Glynn County police for not calling in the GBI sooner and the media for the firestorm around her. “I don't fear the truth; I fear lies,” Johnson said. “We are under a cloud now because of the national media that's based on a lie.” Bryan, along with the McMichaels, remain in jail waiting for a court date to be set for a bond hearing.
  • Twenty hikers were rescued Monday after flash flooding near a swimming hole known as the Devil’s Bathtub in southwestern Virginia, authorities said. The U.S. Forestry Service closed the Devil’s Bathtub Trail for the rest of Monday after the hikers were accounted for shortly after 10 a.m., WJHL reported. According to Duffield Fire Chief Roger Carter, the hikers were rescued on trails around the Devil’s Bathtub after they were trapped by rising waters, ending an ordeal that began Sunday at 7:15 p.m, WCYB reported. “The real challenge is the stream crossings and when you have the water come up very quickly, that’s going to trap people in places where they can’t get out and they can’t get out because the terrain is so steep and in some places, sheer vertical cliffs and then other places, they may end up on an island trapped by water on all sides of them,” Billy Chrimes, Search and Rescue Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, told WJHL. Carter told reporters that one rescued hiker might have a twisted knee, while others have mild cases of hypothermia. Devil’s Bathtub is a naturally occurring swimming hole located in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The trail leading to it is called Devil’s Fork and is a 7.2-mile round trip, CNN reported.

Washington Insider

  • The White House on Sunday added Brazil to the list of nations where foreign nationals are not allowed entry into the United States, in another bid to use travel restrictions to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. 'As of May 23, 2020, Brazil had 310,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world,' said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.  'Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,' she added. The new rules apply not only to Brazilians, but also any other non-U.S. citizen who has been in the South American nation. The changes will take place late this week. The decision comes as the virus outbreak has been spreading in Brazil, which is now seen as the third worst in the world, behind the U.S. and Russia. Last week, President Trump had hinted at such a move. 'I don't want people coming in here and infecting our people,' the President told reporters when asked about a possible move to slow travel with Brazil. 'Brazil is having some trouble. No question about it,' Mr. Trump added on May 19. The designation of Brazil adds that nation to a list of travel restrictions because of the Coronavirus which includes the United Kingdom, most countries in mainland Europe, and China.