Trump Unveils Plan to Revise Legal Immigration as Graham Targets Gaps in Border Security

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President Trump announced on Thursday his new plan to overhaul the U.S. immigration system. One of his most important plans is to focus on merit: the skills and knowledge that immigrants would contribute to the well-being and success of the United States. The President’s proposal would increase the share of legal immigrants who are admitted based on merit from 12 percent to 57 percent. The plan would use a point-based system that rewards jobs skills and education. The plan eliminates the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which awards 50,000 visas per year based not on merit, but on a random system where individuals are selected from countries that have been deemed “underrepresented” in immigration rates to the United States. Learn more in The Daily Signal.

Heritage President Kay Coles James called Trump’s proposal “a welcome step in the right direction.” The proposal aligns with many of the immigration policy recommendations that Heritage published in a report in February: An Agenda for American Immigration Reform.

While Trump’s proposal addresses legal immigration, a new proposal in the U.S. Senate would address illegal immigration at our southern border.

On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., unveiled the Secure and Protect Act of 2019. The Act would stop those who seek to “game” the U.S. asylum system and use it to enter the country illegitimately. It would require asylum-seekers from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and bordering countries to file for asylum at refugee processing centers in their home countries and Mexico.

The bill would also add 500 new immigration judges to handle the backlog of illegal immigration cases, expand the length of time that migrant families may be held together while their asylum claims are processed, and allow U.S. officials to return unaccompanied minors from Central America to their home countries rather than releasing them into the United States. You can learn more in this Daily Signal article: Lindsey Graham Proposes to Tighten Asylum, Immigration Procedures to Relieve Border.

Read Heritage’s key takeaways on what immigration reform should look like here. You can also read or share the takeaways in Spanish here.

 What do you think about these steps to fix the immigration system?

Pro-Life Victories Sweep the States

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Several states recently took steps to protect the unborn. On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a law that bans abortion in most circumstances. Read more in this article in The Daily Signal. On Thursday, Missouri’s state senate passed a bill that would ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy.

Georgia, Mississippi, and Ohio recently passed pro-life legislation that bans abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.

“There’s a reason more than 300 pro-life laws have passed at the state level in the last decade,” said Melanie Israel, a research associate in Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. “Americans largely reject the radical vision of abortion on demand and are supporting pro-life leaders in state legislatures who pass pro-life laws.”

In reaction to these pro-life victories, actress Alyssa Milano called for a nationwide “sex strike” in protest. Heritage’s Kelsey Bolar, Lauren Evans, and Monica Burke discuss Milano’s accidental support for abstinence along with other timely issues in the latest edition of the Problematic Women podcast.

What do you think about these laws, and the possibility that they will challenge Roe vs. Wade at the Supreme Court?

House Passes the ‘Equality Act’

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On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would amend all major civil rights law, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” along with race, sex, and religion as classes that are protected from discrimination.

Read more in The Daily Signal: With Support of 8 Republicans, House Passes Equality Act

The Equality Act would give the federal government power to punish citizens who dissent from sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) ideology, including medical professionals, parents, women and girls, businesses, and charities. The bill would violate the right to freedom of conscience, religion, and speech for every American adhering to a traditional view of these issues. The bill would also take away the authority of local communities to determine who is allowed in single-sex facilities and whether biological men and boys are allowed to join women’s and girls’ sports teams.

Watch: Heritage Explains: How The Equality Act Harms Parents and Children

Read all about it:

Sexual Ideology Indoctrination: The Equality Act’s Impact on School Curriculum and Parental Rights

The Equality Act Could Let Schools, Not Parents, Make Decisions About Children

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., recently explained how the Equality Act would take away rights from women and girls; watch her remarks here.

School administrators are already trying to silence women and girls who dare to speak out against “transgender,” biologically male students competing in women’s sports. The Daily Signal recently interviewed a girl in Connecticut who refused to be bullied: 8th Place: A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Joined Her Sport.

Leftists continually push to invent new rights for certain groups of people while undermining the rights of others. How should conservatives respond to this disturbing trend?

8th Place: A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Joined Her Sport

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Heritage President Reacts to Leftist ‘Mob Rule’

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On May 2, Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James gave her first media interview after Google decided to disband an AI advisory board following backlash from leftist employees who objected to the inclusion of a conservative on the board.

“Google wanted us to stress-test some of their ideas,” James told Fox News’ Shannon Bream. “We use Google products at The Heritage Foundation. Of course, as one of their customers, I would think that they’d want to know what our opinions are – what our concerns are – about artificial intelligence. It was such a missed opportunity.”

Given the growing hostility towards conservatives on social media, how should we fight back against efforts to silence us?

Responding to New Threats from North Korea and Iran

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North Korea launched a series of short-range missile tests in what some consider an attempt to pressure the Trump administration to soften its position on Pyongyang during stalled denuclearization negotiations.

Heritage Senior Research Fellow Bruce Klingner, who specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs, lays out the possible motivations for the missile tests – and how the Trump administration should respond – in The Daily Signal.

On Sunday, the Trump administration announced that it was sending a Navy carrier group to the Middle East in response to reports that Iranian forces and proxies were preparing for a possible attack against U.S. personnel or allies in Syria, Iraq, or at sea.

“If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Heritage expert on Middle Eastern affairs James Phillips explained the escalating tension between Tehran and Washington: Where the U.S.-Iran Confrontation Is Heading.

National security and foreign expert James Carafano weighed in on why taking action in the Gulf sends the right signal to the international community: Trump Tries Gunboat Diplomacy With Iran – Here’s Why He’s Doing It.

As tensions escalate, do you foresee President Trump finding a peaceful resolution to both Iran and North Korea, or should the United States be preparing for war?

Best in the Press May 4-10

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Heritage experts responded to breaking news in foreign affairs this week in Venezuela, Iran, Israel, and China:

Ana Quintana: Best Prescription to Fix Venezuela is “Get Maduro Out Of Power”

Dakota Wood on Venezuela: “We Need to Stay Away From” U.S. Military Intervention

Peter Brookes on Iranian Threat: U.S. Aircraft Carrier “90,000 Tons of Diplomacy and Deterrence”

Nile Gardiner: “Israel Is Rightly Defending Itself Against Terrorist Aggression”

Dean Cheng: U.S. Has a “Far Stronger Hand to Play” in Trade Negotiations With China

See all of Heritage’s media hits from the past week here.

Do you agree with how the Trump administration is responding to foreign affairs?

Uprising in Venezuela

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Juan Guaidó, the country’s rightful leader, was informed on Tuesday, April 30 that he would be arrested on Wednesday, May 1 by the regime of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro. He called for demonstrations of protest, dubbed Operación Libertad, which initiated a series of uprising that was brutally suppressed by the Maduro government.

Guaidó and the protestors received words of support from President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who have long supported Guaidó and opposed the Maduro regime. A coalition of partner nations, including Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and more than 50 other countries, also support Guaidó. However, Maduro has yet to be ousted from power.

Heritage in the News:

Ana Quintana, a Heritage senior policy analyst focused on Latin America, spoke to the BBC about Russia’s outsized role in Madura’s regime. Watch

Senior Fellow Mike Gonzalez: “The Venezuelan people are taking the right steps to liberate themselves.” Watch

E.W. Richardson Fellow James Carafano on Venezuela: “Putin sticking a thumb in the U.S.’ eye.” Watch

Read The Daily Signal’s coverage of the Trump administration’s plan for a post-Maduro Venezuela here.

How should U.S. leaders react to the situation in Venezuela if Maduro continues to cling to power?

Aiding Military Families Through Education Reform

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Military personnel make many sacrifices for our country. But did you know one of the top problems that they report is inadequate education options for their children? All too often, our men and women in uniform are forced to decide between their military careers and their children’s future.

However, a recent proposal in the House and Senate seeks to alleviate this tension by offering education savings accounts to military-connected children. The new policy would allow parents to tailor their children’s education to their unique needs. These changes are imperative to ensure that the U.S. military remains an effective and ready fighting force.

On Tuesday, Heritage hosted a discussion between Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who introduced a military ESA bill in the House, Thomas Spoehr, director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense, and Lindsey Burke, Ph.D., director of Heritage’s Center for Education Policy and the innovator of the military ESA concept. You can watch the event here or listen to the conversation on the Heritage Events podcast.

This event addressed school choice, but what other needs would you like to see addressed for our military and their families? 

House Tries to Block Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

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On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, to keep the United States in the Obama-era Paris climate agreement. President Donald Trump had announced his intent to withdraw from the agreement in June 2017. Learn more in The Daily Signal.

According to Nick Loris, a Heritage economist and the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy, “The Paris Agreement itself would do little to alter the climate. The only way to impact climate is for the entire world to quickly change the way it consumes energy or for all to remain undeveloped. Both options are devoid of reality.”

Read Nick’s full explanation of why rejoining the Paris agreement is wrong for America here.

Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president power to negotiate agreements, with advice and consent of the Senate. What do you think about the House of Representatives trying to intervene in this process? 

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