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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Kushner Seeks Investors to Help Curb Central America Migration

    Justin Sink, Eric Martin and Saleha Mohsin
    19 February 2020

    (Bloomberg) -- White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is organizing an investment conference in Mexico City, aiming to pair private money with foreign aid for Central America that his father-in-law President Donald Trump froze as punishment for the region’s high level of migration to the U.S.

    Planners hope to hold the conference in late March or April, according to four people familiar with the matter. The event would also involve the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador pledging to enact unspecified business-friendly policies, according to one of the people.

    The people asked not to be identified because the conference hasn’t been announced.

    The White House’s hope is that fresh investment and aid to the three countries would serve as both reward for their governments’ cooperation with Trump’s push to stem the flow of migrants and incentive for citizens of the region to stay in their home countries. It’s also an attempt to reframe the provision of U.S. foreign aid, an expenditure Trump has often dismissed as wasteful.

    The Mexican Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry have been heavily involved in the planning, as has the U.S. Treasury Department, according to two of the people.

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said last March that the U.S. and Mexico were working toward an agreement that would yield $10 billion in development assistance for Mexico and Central America.

    There has already been substantial response from private investors Kushner has solicited to participate, one of the people said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is considering attending.

    Spokespeople for the Mexican Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

    Frozen Aid

    Trump suspended more than $500 million in development assistance for the Central American countries last March amid a surge in migration that saw the number of people from the region crossing the U.S. border reach its highest level in more than a decade. The administration later authorized the release of some of the frozen aid for counter-narcotics and anti-gang programs, as well as assistance resettling refugees, after the countries negotiated with the U.S. to cooperate on reducing migration and accepting the return of people caught crossing the border without authorization.

    While the lure of unfreezing U.S. aid could provide an incentive for Central American governments and private investors to participate in the conference, similar Kushner-led efforts have stumbled before. He helped organize an investment conference in Bahrain last year intended to build momentum for Trump’s Middle East peace plan that saw participation by a number of international business figures but drew little buy-in from regional leaders.

    The Bahrain “Peace to Prosperity” event was intended to identify $50 billion for new investment, infrastructure and tourism in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and nearby Arab countries. But it was boycotted by Palestinian leaders, who said they would refuse American financial aid without an agreement for a Palestinian state.

    ‘America Crece’

    In advance of the Mexico City conference, senior U.S. officials have sought to engage business leaders across the region as part of the administration’s “Growth in the Americas” or “America Crece” initiative, which was announced in 2018 and expanded last year. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted an event in December that saw senior officials from seven Cabinet agencies meet with business and political leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The State Department has said the administration is particularly focused on investments in critical infrastructure, including energy, airports, ports, roads, telecom and digital networks.

    Separately, Kushner has recently met with business and conservative leaders to try to resuscitate a proposed overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, National Public Radio reported earlier this month. A plan he announced in May 2019 would rank aspiring U.S. immigrants by metrics including age, English proficiency and whether they had offers of employment at certain wage levels or in specialty fields.

    But the plan ignored key Democratic priorities, including providing legal status to migrants known as “Dreamers” who were brought into the country illegally as children. The initiative has been largely ignored on Capitol Hill and has failed to gain traction as a campaign issue.
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  2. #2
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Gheen, Minnesota, United States
    Separately, Kushner has recently met with business and conservative leaders to try to resuscitate a proposed overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, National Public Radio reported earlier this month.
    Can anyone find out who Kushner met with about his immigration plans?
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Kushner Seeks To Revive Trump's Overhaul For Immigration System

    February 12, 2020

    Franco Ordonez

    Jared Kushner first tackled a merit-based immigration proposal last year. It landed with a thud. Now, he's working to make changes and revive the plan ahead of the 2020 election.

    Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

    Jared Kushner has been quietly trying to resurrect discussions to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, multiple people familiar with the conversations have told NPR.

    President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law has been meeting with business leaders, immigration hard-liners and other interest groups important to Republicans with the goal of rolling out a new immigration plan once Trump's impeachment trial ended.

    The effort responds to a lobbying push by business groups, which have sought to use the booming economy — a core part of Trump's 2020 campaign message — to make their case for more workers to fill critical job openings.

    But Kushner's plan faces daunting odds. There is a gulf between what business interests want and what immigration restrictionist groups are willing to accept. And Democrats are expected to denounce any effort that does not address the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. or the DREAMers — undocumented people brought into the country as children.

    The White House declined to respond to specific questions about the plan. The details of the plan have not been finalized and could change, or even be shelved.

    "There have been no final decisions on specific policy proposals; however, the President has been clear we must have sane, rational immigration policy to keep American citizens safe that includes finishing the wall, securing our border, and a merit-based immigration system that protect American wages and jobs," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said.
    The strategy is part of White House efforts to demonstrate that it is making progress on Trump's previous promises while uniting Republicans on a list of principles as they head into the 2020 election.
    "The Kushner plan on behalf of President Trump has a lot to like," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for stronger immigration enforcement.
    "While it has zero chance of moving through a divided Congress this year, over the coming months we'll hear why it's better than the ideas coming from House Democrats, mayors with pretensions to bigger things and an open-borders socialist," Stein said, alluding to Democratic candidates.

    Elements of the new plan

    The new plan would boost the number of legal immigrants by increasing visas for high-skilled workers — something Trump has argued is needed for the tech industry and manufacturers to expand in America.

    It would reorganize the Department of Homeland Security to streamline the leadership of its three immigration-related agencies, creating a new director position, or immigration czar, who would be in charge of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
    The plan would increase the number of federal departments and agencies required to use E-Verify, a database that helps check the immigration status of employees, but would not make E-Verify mandatory for all businesses to use.

    Keeping E-Verify voluntary is one of the reasons groups that favor immigration restrictions are questioning the plan and pushing for stronger enforcement measures.

    They are also concerned that Kushner's plan doesn't cut – and likely increases — the number of green cards issued each year. This year, about 1 million immigrants were given permanent resident status.
    "What they do is they take Tom Cotton's RAISE Act, which created a merit system which the president liked, and they basically puff it out to cover more people, more types of applicant types and a huge increase in numbers," said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that wants tighter immigration controls. Vaughan has been briefed on elements of the plan.

    The plan includes several border security measures, such as stricter visa screening, clamping down on sanctuary cities and tighter rules for asylum-seekers.
    The plan would eliminate many current categories for family-sponsored immigration but would allow family members of immigrants to apply for a new "Build America Visa." This new visa category would be for "extraordinarily talented individuals," high-skilled professionals and top graduate students from American universities.

    Business groups say they're encouraged by the renewed effort to focus immigration on workforce needs but raised concerns that the plan wouldn't go far enough to increase the number of workers.
    Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the United States needs to increase legal immigration to keep the economy booming. At a minimum, he said, Trump's plan should not reduce levels of legal immigration.
    "Every incumbent president is interested in a growing economy, particularly in an election year," Bradley said in an interview. "One of the headwinds that the economy is facing is a lack of available workers and no sense that there's any relief in sight."

    Second time around

    This is not Kushner's first attempt at trying to address this perpetually complicated issue. He led a similar effort last year to create a merit-based immigration system like ones used in Canada and Australia.

    Kushner presents the first version of President Trump's immigration plan at the White House on July 16, 2019.

    The proposal was released last spring with great fanfare but failed to gain momentum. It landed as Trump shook up DHS leadership. In the course of a few weeks, he fired Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna and pulled the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead ICE.

    The plan also failed to catch fire with factions in the Republican Party: the hard-liners who seek greater reductions in the number of immigrants and business groups that want more foreign workers.

    The current plan faces those same challenges. And some Republican senators have privately expressed discomfort with the idea of the Trump administration dictating what immigration legislation to introduce, sources said.

    Trump campaigned on a promise to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the southern border with Mexico and end the Obama-era DREAMers program.

    But there have been some shifts in his position on legal immigration.

    During his State of the Union address this year, Trump alluded to Kushner's efforts to bring in more legal workers to help fuel the U.S. economy. "To build on these historic gains, we are working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules, contribute to our economy, support themselves financially and uphold our values," Trump said.

    It's a shift from his "Buy American, Hire American" agenda from the early days of his presidency; that agenda included promises to curtail programs that brought in foreign workers who displaced or competed with U.S. citizens.

    Trump addressed skepticism about that shift during a recent interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, who reminded Trump that he ran for office with a message that he would not allow foreign labor to replace American workers.

    Trump pushed back, arguing that U.S. companies, particularly tech companies, were running out of workers. "We have to allow smart people to stay in our country," Trump said. "We don't have enough of them. And we have to be competitive with the rest of the world too."

    Those comments raised alarm bells among immigration hawks like Vaughan. While she supports many elements in Kushner's plan, she worries there is too much focus on increasing the number of workers.
    "The main problem is trying to do too much in one bill," Vaughan said.

    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 02-19-2020 at 10:59 PM.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

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  4. #4
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    No immigration for 10 years!

    No more people!

    We have no housing.

    American's First!


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