President Trump announced that immigration law may change soon in California and across the country. Trump calls his plan “merit-based” immigration. The plan is likely to further restrict immigration, particularly family-based immigration. Trump has promised an executive action and not a law because a law would have to pass through Congress.
What is merit-based immigration?
Trump’s plan awards points to potential immigrants based on employment factors. These factors would be set in place by the government rather than employers. First, an immigrant must qualify as a skilled professional. Then, they earn points for things like education, time spent at the job and language abilities. The idea is that if you earn enough points, you get in.
Immigration experts can only guess what is in the plan based on the White House’s previous statements on immigration. One potential plan eliminates all family and employment-based immigration, replacing it with the merit factors. H-1B immigrants may see their place in the line change, their spouses lose their ability to work or the need to re-certify every six years.
What is the timeline for this executive order?
These changes may not happen because the president might face a short time-line. An election loss would make Jan. 19, 2021, the last date for action. For a rule to go into effect, it would have to be posted 30 or 60 days before it can begin. After that, the administration has to allow public comment and reaction to those comments. If Trump does not issue this order in September, it is not likely to happen.
What does this mean? There could be major changes happening to the American immigration system without Congressional action, or nothing may happen. An immigration attorney is responsible for keeping up with the latest changes in immigration law, so those who might be affected may want to speak with an attorney to make contingency plans.