May 21

The Truth About Kushner’s Immigration Plan

Donald Trump signed off on White House Advisor Jared Kushner’s immigration plan and turned it over to Senate Republicans. The specifics of the immigration plan are supposed to be unveiled any day, and we expect it will have two parts:

  1. Border Security: We can assume that the program will include stricter and tougher border security measures that may involve the use of enhanced technology.
  2. Immigration Reform: Donald Trump has signaled for a shift toward merit-based immigration, similar to the Canadian model that has been adopted by New Zealand.

Listen to the episode below.

There are pros and cons to merit-based immigration. Ironically, all business immigration is merit-based, and business immigration makes up one-third of immigration cases. There are 30+ types of merit-based visas, most of which are increasingly difficult to get.

What does the Canadian merit-based model look like?

Canada uses a point system for immigration cases. For instance, the applicant receives more points if they are fluent in either English or French. The United States may incorporate the points system for education — the higher the applicant’s education, the more points they receive. Higher-salary jobs may also earn more points than low salary jobs.

Canada gives points for having relatives in the country. Having relatives in the United States might be a factor in how many points an applicant receives. However, giving points for having family members in the U.S. may trigger what the Trump administration has been against – family-based or chain migration. Currently, two-thirds of immigration cases are family-based.

Ultimately, the devil will be in the details, and the policies will evolve as we go.  

The most interesting thing about this administration is how they have made immigration policy. The policies are veiled and then launched seemingly out of nowhere. Take, for example, the Muslim ban that has been attacked in court.

Typically, proposed regulations are published and then undergo a comment period. Especially when the regulations concern taxes, environment or immigration. The comment period allows stakeholders to provide feedback, from which the proposed rule/policy can be adapted to fit public interest.

Who has Jared Kushner Consulted with for Immigration Policy?

It is important to note that Jared Kushner is not an immigration attorney nor a practitioner in the field of immigration law. That means the people that Jared Kushner has met with will undoubtedly shape his approach to reform.

Recently, Jared Kushner met with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Since 2007, Grassley has pushed for radical H1-B and L-1 reform that would essentially gut the programs. What is so interesting is that staffers and Chiefs of Staff for Grassley have been employed and appointed to leadership roles in the United States and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Take, for instance, Francis Cissna, who worked on Grassley’s staff when he was chairing the Judiciary Committee, he has gone into immigration and made it very difficult from the business side. For these reasons, it is likely we will see the Senator’s footprints on the bill, but we really do not know yet.

Oddly enough, Donald Trump has authorized 30,000 additional H-2B visas, which are for seasonal, non-sophisticated employees such as laborers and service industry personnel. But some of Trump’s strongest border security allies are not fans of the H-2B visa. Of course, Donald Trump likes the H-2B visa because he owns hotels. Right now, there is some breaking amongst supporting policy makers.

Majority of people whom Jared Kushner consulted want to limit immigration to the extent of cutting it in half. When you think about it, it’s nonsensical. The unemployment rate, as the Trump administration has proudly touted, is at a record low. There are fewer Americans that need jobs right now. It simply doesn’t make sense to cut immigration while companies need to hire people.

We are a global country in a global marketplace. American companies work around the world, which means they need to be able to move people back and forth between various locations.

Education & Immigration

Currently, there are tech companies situated in cities with negative unemployment rates – they have jobs (supply) and not enough people to do them (demand). The thing is, many people are willing to do these jobs, and many of whom hold degrees from U.S. universities.

They are foreign nationals who have paid full tuition plus extra out-of-state and out-of-country fees. These people are qualified and ready to start their career, yet it has become increasingly hard for them to do that.

Of the top 10 universities in the world, 8 of them are in the United States. Two of the top 10 universities, Oxford and Cambridge, are ranked sixth and seventh. The United States is dominating higher education.

But because foreign nationals have had such a difficult time joining the U.S. labor force after graduation from top American schools, they are going home.

The number of Indian student applicants in admissions has decreased by 28%, while Chinese student applications have decreased by 24%. These numbers translate to a loss of approximately $2 billion in tuition to U.S. universities annually.

American students in our state schools are paying far less than the out-of-country tuition. Many universities are relying on out-of-country students to pay the highest amount to keep their doors open.

We need them in our schools and our economy. But we are telling them, “No thanks, you’re not going to get a job,” so they are not coming to school here. These are the unintended consequences of a blanket and overly strict immigration policy.

About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas

Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H-1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon was also pivotal in the Cherokee Freedmen Supreme Court case.

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