Will Trump Change Policies for Skilled Immigrant Workers?
May 21, 2019
Comments made by President Trump at his State of the Union address seemed to be in favor of having skilled immigrant workers in this country but did not seem in line with previous comments and current policies. Many are questioning whether his remarks are valid. Trump stated that he wanted more people to enter the U.S. than ever before, but it had to be done legally. He also stated that high-skilled labor was needed to manage plants and companies that are returning to the country. A reporter for The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Trump’s statement goes against the administration’s present immigration policies.
Immigration policies have experienced an upheaval since Trump was inaugurated, creating hardships for immigrants and their families. These actions were implemented to cut down on immigration, and include:
- Migrant children being separated from their parents at the border
- A travel ban against certain countries that are predominately Muslim
- Decreased numbers of refugee admissions
- Procedures that make it harder for companies to hire and keep highly-skilled immigrants
Indicators of Policy Change
To see if the comments were backed by intentions, there are several things to watch for, such as the public charge rule. Though not a law, it specifies that an immigrant is inadmissible into the U.S. if it is likely that they will be dependent on the government for subsistence. For now, this rule is still in place; withdrawing it would show that the administration is not focused on reducing the immigrant population.
The H-4 EAD is an employment authorization document that permits 100,000 spouses of visa holders to obtain work authorization each year. Current plans that call for H-4 EAD’s removal would take away thousands of skilled workforce members, so eliminating this rescindment proposal would give strength to Trump’s words. Another change would come in early October, when the annual refugee ceiling numbers are revealed. These numbers show how many refugees are admitted into the country every year, and is set by the President and Congress. These numbers are at historic lows under current policies.
Actions Will Back up Words
As of now, there is no tangible proof that the Trump administration plans to increase legal immigration. The indicators described above could be signs of things to come. For real change to be put in place, a bill supporting the increase of legal immigrants would be required. Another option would be bill H.R. 1044, which would abolish limits by country for permanent, employment-based immigration. This legislation and others could bring more skilled immigrant workers into the country and retain them.
Time will tell if the Trump administration plans to follow through on his statements at the State of the Union address. If concrete actions are taken by the government, immigrants and their families may experience real change.
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