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White House Releases Details on Establishing a Merit-Based Immigration System

Establish Merit-Based Reforms to Promote Assimilation and Financial Success End Chain Migration:

  • Limit family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

  • Pro-worker immigration reforms would end chain migration to begin providing lawful permanent resident status based on merit, not family connections, and would promote assimilation, financial independence, and upward mobility.

  • Most low-skilled immigration into the United States occurs legally through our immigrant visa system, which prioritizes family-based chain migration.

  • Each year, the United States permanently grants green cards to more than 1 million people, many of whose sole basis for entering the United States is family ties.

  • Chain migration has accounted for more than 60 percent of immigration into the United States over the last 35 years.

Point-Based System for Merit-Based Immigration:

  • Establish a point-based system for awarding green cards that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers, encourages assimilation, and ensures the financial self-sufficiency of newcomers.

  • Only 1 out of every 15 immigrants to the United States is admitted on the basis of skills.

  • More than half of all immigrant households use one or more welfare programs.

  • Decades of low-skilled immigration has suppressed wages, fueled unemployment, and strained Federal resources.

Eliminate the “Diversity Visa” Lottery:

  • Every year, through the “diversity visa” lottery, the United States awards 50,000 green cards at random to foreign nationals, many of whom have absolutely no ties to the United States, no special skills, and limited education.

  • The “diversity visa” lottery is susceptible to fraud and is costly and time intensive for the State Department to implement.

  • The lottery initiates new streams of permanent immigration when the lottery winners, many of whom previously had no ties to the United States, are subsequently able to bring over their extended relatives through chain migration.

Set the Number of Refugees at an Appropriate Level:

  • While the United States is a world leader in accepting refugees and recently has gone beyond historic averages, the refugee ceiling needs to be realigned with American priorities.

  • Historically, the United States has resettled more refugees than has the rest of the world combined.

  • One study found that for the price of permanently resettling one refugee within the country, the United States can help 12 refugees resettle in safe zones closer to their home regions.

  • By better focusing U.S. refugee admissions on the most genuine claims and enhancing our screening processes, we will help combat fraud in the program, enhance our Nation’s ability to welcome refugees, and aid in their assimilation to the American way of life.

Contact our experienced immigration lawyers in New York City today at 718-407-0871 or online at for creative solutions to our client’s complex immigration problems.

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