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On H1B lottery day, Trump admin confirms hardline immigration legislation in the works

The Trump administration is drafting a new “package” of hardline immigration legislation to “close loopholes once and for all” likely including border security, family based and employment based immigration, senior White House officials said on the same day US President Trump railed against ‘caravans’ of illegal immigrants entering America’s porous borders.

Trump has been visibly annoyed after the passage of the massive $ 1.3 trillion budget gave him just enough cash to repair existing segments of his "big, beautiful" wall along the southern border with Mexico. His irritation with what he called a "ridiculous" budget bill has now sparked renewed focus on using the wall as bait to push other pet agenda items through.

The new legislative effort will likely take a meat cleaver to the visa lottery too, although the contours (family only or employment based too?) are still not entirely clear. Coming on the same day that the H1B lottery opened in America for US employers to hire foreign workers, the timing of Monday's briefing is striking for both extremes of the immigration debate in the US - legal, high skilled workers and illegals.

 On H1B lottery day, Trump admin confirms hardline immigration legislation in the works

Stephen Miller, said to be the fountainhead for Trump's immigration agenda, seen here at the White House/ REUTERS

Speaking on background to the media, including Firstpost, senior White House officials confirmed that the new bill will run in parallel with the framework laid out by Trump in earlier months.

If the paperwork indeed sticks to that framework, it will likely include provisions to eliminate the visa lottery and reallocate visas to reduce high skilled employment-based Green Card application backlog.

It’s a badly kept secret by now that two firebrand Trump advisers on immigration Tom Cotton and Stephen Miller both have long wanted the revised family migration policy to limiting green cards to include (only) spouses and minor children.

Staffers with Trump over the Easter holiday included Stephen Miller, one of the chief architects of the administration's anti-immigration policies.

Legal experts Firstpost has spoken to say the points based system for green cards “to protect U.S. workers and taxpayers” is the Trump administration’s way of keeping almost everybody out “except Olympic athletes and Nobel prize winners”.

Any move to reduce high skilled employment backlog for permanent residency applications will bring cheer to the H1B community in the US but the opposition to the bill in this form comes from what the Opposition calls “poison pills” within - the hidden agenda to take America back to the most restrictive immigration policy from back in the 1920s and cut foreign influx to its lowest level in the last 40 years.

Monday's background briefing was headlined on illegal immigration but the messages from high powered Trump officials who have been immune to White House turmoil were clearly geared to appeasing a far-right voter base.

Although broadcast from the White House megaphone, there’s little appetite in Congress for any of this after the tortuous path the recent budget bill went through. For any legislation to become law, Trump will need a supermajority in Congress to muscle it through.

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Updated Date: Apr 03, 2018 04:14:38 IST