Donald Trump working on merit-based immigration order, and DACA



The White House on Friday said President Donald Trump was working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system and offer a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, without offering them amnesty.

The president has been pushing for a merit-based immigration system which offers US citizenship on the basis of the applicants qualifications and skills, in order to benefit the country, and less through familial connections, which currently account for roughly half of the 1 million Green Cards given annually. First lady Melania Trump’s parents were among millions who have benefited from family-based immigration, which the president has derisively called “chain migration”.

No details were forthcoming, or the timeline.

The White House statement came after President Trump told Telemundo, a Spanish-language TV channel, he was working on an executive order that would include provisions for DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the 2012 Obama-era protection from their deportation.

“I’m going to do a big executive order. … And I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a road to citizenship.”

There are an estimated 644,000 undocumented immigrants in this category, also called DREAMERs, including at least 2,500 from India.

A White House spokesperson said, “As the President announced today, he is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect US workers.”

On DACA, the spokesperson said the president was willing to work with congress to find “a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms”.

“This does not include amnesty,” the spokesperson added.

The Trump administration has been trying to rescind the Obama-era protections and its most recent attempt — an order from the Department of Homeland Security — went up to the Supreme Court, where it was rejected by justices who called it “arbitrary and capricious”.

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