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Immigration

Pelosi Declares Trump’s Merit-Based Immigration Plan ‘Dead on Arrival’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the immigration reform plan unveiled by President Trump on Thursday as an unrealistic restrictionist wish-list that will meet overwhelming opposition in the Democratically-controlled House.

“This dead-on-arrival plan is not a remotely serious proposal,” Pelosi said in a statement released hours after Trump announced the plan from the White House Rose Garden. “The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration’s barbaric family detention policies, reviving the President’s ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections, which the evangelical community has called the ‘crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’  To say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension.”

Trump unveiled an immigration reform plan Thursday that would increase the share of highly-educated, affluent migrants admitted to the U.S. while reforming the asylum system to make it easier to dismiss “meritless” claims before migrants are allowed to enter the country.

Democrats have unanimously condemned the plan due to its failure to address the legal status of the millions of so-called Dreamers living in the country and are unlikely to concede to any of the proposed reforms absent some form of amnesty for that population.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not explicitly endorse Trump’s plan in a statement released Thursday evening.

“We are a nation of immigrants and we must preserve that ricj part of who wer are. But we are a nation of laws. There is a crisis at our southern border and I hope Democrats get serious soon about working with us to secure our borders and restore the rule of law to our nation, which includes reforming out-of-date legal authorities. I look forward to reviewing the president’s proposal,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s description of “out-of-date legal authorities” likely refers to federal laws that require immigration officials to admit to the country all migrants who pass a“credible fear” interview while their asylum claims are being adjudicated. That system has in part led to the overwhelming of DHS resources as record numbers of migrants, many of whom are women and children, have crossed the border in recent months seeking asylum.

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