Trump proposes priority for skilled workers, DNA tests

By Sommer Brugal


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The Investigative Reporting Workshop continues to track immigration-related news, including the 2020 presidential race and policy changes that have occurred during the Trump administration. Check out our interactive timeline and where the 2020 candidates stand on the topic.

In other immigration news:
President Trump announced a new immigration plan Thursday that would prioritize highly skilled workers over individuals with families already living in the U.S. The “merit-based system” would reward applicants based on factors such as age, ability to speak English, job offers and education levels, reports The Washington Post. The new plan would also require immigrants to learn English and pass a civics exam. It does not address the status of DACA recipients.

Weeks before they were removed from their positions in the Trump administration, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello halted an operation to arrest thousands of immigrant parents and children in 10 major U.S. cities. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles were among those targeted in a proposed “show of force” that was meant to “send the message that the United States was going to get tough” on immigration, The Washington Post reported. Both Nielsen and Vitiello expressed concern for the operation’s lack of preparation and the risk of public outrage. The plan is still under consideration.

A Massachusetts judge and former court officer were charged with obstructing justice for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade arrest by sneaking out of the courthouse’s rear exit. The plan was devised after the immigrant’s lawyer expressed concern that ICE was going after the wrong person, according to The Boston Globe, which reported the incident in December.

The Department of Homeland Security will begin DNA testing of migrants at the southern border, according to CNN. The pilot program, announced in early May, is the most recent effort by the Trump administration to penalize those falsely posing as families when trying to enter the country. The program will run for two or three days at two locations and include a cheek swab, according to CNN.