According to new reports, Republican Senators including Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Marsha Blackburn, David Perdue, and others are set to view President Trump’s new immigration plan at an upcoming meeting on Tuesday at the White House.
While details remain scarce, the new plan is reportedly months in the making, and will focus on bolstering security at the US-Mexico border while addressing policy regulating asylum and immigration.
“It’s imperative that the United States finds a better balance on immigration,” said Senator Perdue recently.
President Trump hinted at the magnitude of his plans recently, stating “we’re making a plan where we really talk about immigration laws on a much larger scale.”
A group of Republican senators will hear details about the Trump administration’s soon-to-be-released immigration plan at a White House meeting Tuesday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a key Trump ally, is expected to attend, as well as Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), according to two people familiar with the meeting.
The meeting comes as Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, gears up to release an immigration plan he has spent months crafting, which is expected to boost security at the southern border and implement a merit-based system for immigrants .
Kushner is considering increasing the number of migrant workers allowed into the country while simultaneously reducing the number of family members that U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to sponsor. That would have a net zero effect on overall immigration levels.
The senators have all played a prominent role on immigration. Blackburn sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Crapo and Grassley both serve on the committee’s subcommittee on immigration. Cotton and Perdue recently introduced a bill establishing a merit-based immigration plan.
Steve Kuhn, founder of IDEAL Immigration, which supports an increase in immigration, and attendee of one of the White House’s prior meetings, called the proposal a “positive start” but another advocate said keeping the immigrant numbers static doesn’t solve any problems. “What does that fix?” he said.
The White House has been in touch with some Republican senators, including Graham and Perdue, as it has crafted the proposal.
“It’s imperative that the United States finds a better balance on immigration,” Perdue said in a statement. “If we want to continue this economic boom, we need an immigration system that responds to the needs of our growing economy, while protecting American workers.”
Kushner presented an initial draft to Trump recently but the president asked him to significantly broaden it to include border enforcement. He is working with Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser and influential hardliner on immigration whose restrictionist views have slowed past compromise efforts, and Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
At least three staffers have moved from agencies to the White House to help with the immigration: Kristi Boswell, a senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue; Joe Edlow, acting deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice; and George Fishman, deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security.
“We have a package of things that we’re asking for and we’re actually going for a much bigger package than — rather than those little things which are not little at all in terms of their importance, but we’re making a plan where we really talk about immigration laws on a much larger scale,” Trump told Fox News recently.
Business groups have pushed for additional permanent slots for immigrants coming to the United States, saying the demand has increased since the unemployment rate has fallen and companies have struggled to fill jobs. More than one million immigrants are allowed into the United States each year on a permanent basis but only a fraction — 140,000 — come through employment categories. The rest are relatives, refugees or immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. These numbers don’t include immigrants allowed entry for temporary or seasonal work.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Two senate GOP aides confirmed the meeting involves immigration but it’s unclear whether they will meet with Trump.