President Trump on Wednesday warned again about the dangers of undocumented immigrants, signaling no plans to temper his rhetoric even as he prepares to unveil a broad proposal aimed at balancing public perception of his administration's hard line agenda. On Thursday, Trump is expected to deliver a speech in which he proposes an overhaul of the US immigration system, including the number of immigrants accepted, development of a wall between the USA and Mexico and how visas are granted. Yamiche Alcindor talks to Amna Nawaz about the plan's details and its likely reception by Congress.
Also, asylum applications from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras would be filed at centers in those countries and in Mexico, not in the United States, under Graham's plan. "That is going to be up to them", said the official who requested anonymity.
Brainchild of Trump's son-in-law, Jarred Kushner, the new plan primarily focusses on strengthening border security and revamping the system of Green Card or legal permanent residency so that people with merit, higher degrees and professional qualifications could get an easy access to the immigration system.
For decades, US immigration laws have given priority to family-based immigration, and about two-thirds of all people granted green cards each year have family ties to people in the United States. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would be taken into account.
Trump will nonetheless deliver a Rose Garden speech Thursday throwing his weight behind the plan, which has thus far received mixed reviews from Republicans in the Senate.
The White House proposal is "not created to become law", Sen.
Graham told reporters that he had urged Trump to try to cut a deal with Democrat and said he thought Trump was "open-minded to it".
In his speech, Trump is unlikely to propose changes in the existing number - 1.1 million - of green cards issued each year.
Lisa Koop, director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center, also criticized the various planks of the proposal, including its failure to address those brought to the USA illegally as children who are now protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, which Trump has tried to end.
"A plan that forces families apart, limits access to asylum and other humanitarian relief, and doesn't contemplate a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented community members is clearly a political stunt meant to posture rather than problem-solve", she said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham debuted a new immigration bill on Wednesday to tackle the "perfect storm brewing at the border", taking aim at Central American migrants who he says have relied on immigration loopholes for too long. "We're gonna wipe out the backlog", Graham said.