WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump planned to present a bill to his Cabinet on Tuesday aimed at boosting border security and overhauling the current immigration system to make it more merit-based, a senior administration official said.
With U.S. lawmakers’ August recess looming, the official did not give a timetable for introducing the bill to Congress, but described it as laying out the president’s vision and unifying Republicans around a detailed proposal.
The bill has 10 Republican co-sponsors, said the official, who requested anonymity.
While the White House has discussed it with some Democrats, the person added, it was unclear if it would win the support of members of the Democratic Party, which controls the House of Representatives.
Trump pledged to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in his 2016 run for office, and has since fought with Congress and in the courts for funding to pay for the barrier.
On Monday, he touted weekend raids aimed at immigrants who had been ordered deported, as his administration seeks to deter a surge in Central American families seeking asylum in the United States after fleeing poverty and gang violence in their home countries.
White House officials have been working on an immigration plan over the past seven months, the official said, noting that the president would meet with Republican congressional leaders later on Tuesday to map out a way forward.
The plan does not deal with the “Dreamer” children of immigrants in the country illegally or immigrants under Temporary Protected Status, both priorities of Democratic lawmakers.
It does include a modified version of the so-called E-Verify program, which relies on a database that allows employers to electronically check the immigration status of potential employees.
A merit-based system could upend the decades-old U.S. practice of giving priority to family-based immigration. About two-thirds of all people granted green cards for U.S. residency each year have family ties to people in the United States.