"Build America" Visa Replaces Green Card In Trump's New US Entry Plan

Washington: Donald Trump has said he will replace the existing green cards with 'Build America' visa, as the US President unveiled a new merit and points-based immigration policy that seeks to increase the quota for highly-skilled workers from 12 to 57 per cent.

Every year the US issues nearly 1.1 million green cards, which gives foreign nationals life-time permission to live and work in the US and a path to citizenship in five years. Currently most of cards are issued based on family links and diversity visa, and a small section is given to people who are professionals and highly skilled.

Trump said on Thursday he wanted to change that and unveiled a new proposal. "Our proposal fulfils our sacred duty to those living here today, while ensuring America remains a welcoming country to immigrants joining us tomorrow. We want immigrants coming in," Trump said in a major immigration policy address in the Rose Garden of the White House.

"We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country, but a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill," he said.

The White House plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year. "Instead of admitting people through random chance, we will establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States. No matter where in the world you're born, no matter who your relatives are, if you want to become an American citizen, it will be clear exactly what standard we ask you to achieve. It will be made crystal clear," Trump said.

"This will increase the diversity of immigration flows into our country. We will replace the existing green card categories with a new visa, the Build America visa - which is what we all want to hear," Trump said amidst applause from the audience.

Trump said like Canada and many other modern countries, his administration seeks to create an "easy-to-navigate points-based" selection system.

"You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs," he said.

In the absence of such a system, America is losing people who want to start companies, and in many cases, are forced to leave the country and go back to the country where they came from, he said.    "They could've started them (companies) right here in the United States, where they wanted to do it in the first place. Now they'll have a chance," Trump said.

The President said priority will also be given to higher-wage workers to ensure the American labour is never undercut.    To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient, he said.

"Finally, to promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission. Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that respects, and even strengthens, our culture, our traditions, and our values," Trump said.    According to the president, Americans with criminal records are getting a second chance at life in higher numbers than ever before.

Unfortunately, the current immigration rules allow foreign workers to substitute for Americans seeking entry-level jobs. "So, foreign workers are coming in and they're taking the jobs that would normally go to American workers," Trump said.

"America's immigration system should bring in people who will expand opportunity for striving, low-income Americans, not to compete with those low-income Americans," he said.

As a result of the broken rules, the annual green card flow is mostly low-wage and low-skilled, he rued, adding that the newcomers compete for jobs against the most vulnerable Americans and put pressure on social safety net and generous welfare programmes. "Only 12 per cent of legal immigrants are selected based on skill or based on merit.

In countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that number is closer to 60 and even 70 and 75 per cent, in some cases," he said.    The biggest change his administration will make is to increase the proportion of highly-skilled immigration from 12 per cent to 57 per cent, Trump said. "We'd like to even see if we can go higher. This will bring us in line with other countries and make us globally competitive," he said.    At the same time, the current system prioritise the immediate family of new Americans - spouses and children, he said.

"The loved ones you choose to build a life with, we prioritise. And we have to do that. They go right to the front of the line. Right to the front of the line, where they should be," Trump said.

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Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Tonkin? Trump warns Iran it will 'suffer greatly' if it does 'anything'

Blame for the "sabotage operations" that damaged four oil tankers off the coast of the UAE has been placed at the feet of "Iran or Iran-backed proxies," courtesy of anonymous "US officials" breathlessly quoted by MSM.

Anonymous officials are an integral part of a good casus belli. Their deeds should be heroic enough that merely fact-checking their story reflects badly on the journalist attempting it. What kind of cynical reporter would question the bravery of "Curveball," the informant who spilled the beans about Saddam Hussein's "mobile biological weapons laboratories," sealing the doom of a million Iraqis with the Weapons of Mass Destruction myth? Yet credulous reporters are once again repeating the conclusions of an anonymous official without asking how he arrived at them.

Also on rt.com Detailed footage shows extent of damage to tanker ships in Persian Gulf (VIDEO)...

With meters-wide holes in the side of each ship, there were no injuries or deaths – not even a drop of precious oil leaked from the tanker vessels "sabotaged" in the Persian Gulf. The nature of the "attack" dovetails with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's overly broad criteria for a "swift and decisive response." An attack by Iran "or its proxies" on "US interests or citizens" was all it would take to bring the wrath of Uncle Sam crashing down on Tehran, and here, as if on cue, Iran (or its proxies!) supposedly has blown a hole into the side of a ship destined to bring oil to the US.

If Iran were so rash as to risk such a conflict, they would probably seek to do some real damage. But such seemingly suicidal acts are a dime a dozen in the run-up to US wars. Syrian President Bashar Assad supposedly attacked his people with chemical weapons just days after then-US president Barack Obama announced his infamous "red line," warning Assad not to use chemical weapons lest he experience the full force of democracy, American style.

Israel's Mossad was reportedly the source of the tip that Iran was planning some kind of attack on the US in the first place – a vague yet "credible threat" that provided an ideal rationale to deploy the USS 'Abraham Lincoln' carrier group, a bomber task force, a battery of Patriot missiles, and potentially up to 120,000 troops to the CENTCOM region, even though the source themselves admitted the warning was "unclear." 

Also on rt.com US acted on vague Mossad tip-off when it sent strike group to Middle East – report...

The media mouthpieces who sold Americans the wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yugoslavia don't seem to be putting too much effort into selling the idea of a war with Iran as a coherent narrative. Aside from Pompeo's constant repetitions of the '#1 sponsor of terror' canard, there is suspiciously little mythmaking going on – no babies being thrown from incubators, no Viagra-fueled rape brigades marching through Tehran. The media has been busy smearing Venezuela with stories that grown men and women are fighting each other for the last zoo animal to eat, and stealing gold fillings out of corpses, but the stories about Iran are positively half-baked.

Even the US president doesn't seem to know what's going on, other than that he's supposed to be rallying the troops. "I'm hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly," he told reporters.

Which is exactly the problem. How can they help but do "anything?" Meanwhile, by placing billions of dollars off Iranian waters and daring all comers to attack, knowing it will be blamed on Iran, the US has created a situation almost guaranteed to trigger war.

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Eminent Threat of the Vermin against Venezuela

On the wide spectrum of criteria on the matter it’s worth turning the eye to one in particular that was published last Sunday in Miami by the New Herald.

The name of the article:”How likely is a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela?

The author, Andrés Oppenheimer, an Argentinean born journalist more pro-Yankee than Donald Trump himself.

He begins, “although speculations on a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela are escalating, I think believe it’s very unlikely.”

However, he clarifies, after hearing from diplomatic sources that North American officials consider to summon the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 (The Rio Treaty).

He said that he is less convinced than before that there won't be a military foreign action.

On the following line he explains his arguments.

Firstly, Donald Trump and his men go further in their discourse after the attempt of April 30 “to reestablish democracy.”

They were beyond their usual statements, all options are on the table, and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said “a military action is possible.”

Secondly, in the White House there are some who fear that Trump is not longer taken seriously if he doesn't impose the force to overthrow Maduro.

His promises that he will overthrow Maduro “could begin to sound as his empty threats that “Mexico will build the wall.”

Oppenheimer, a famous “gossiper” of the White House, thinks that Trump’s greatest interest in Venezuela resides in that he wants to win Cuban-American and Venezuelan votes in Florida for the 20220 elections.

But it’s not discarded, and observers alert, also that the leader could be talked into using the military option in that country by some of his collaborators.

Thirdly, Latin American diplomats tell him that there are private discussions within the OAS to summon the Rio Treaty.

Who are the members of the Rio Treaty? The governments from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, that is, the rotten extreme right.

In his article, when he asked Trump’s special correspondent for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, (a Medieval figure) if there were secret discussions about summoning the Rio Treaty, he didn't confirm it neither denied it.

In spite of him, even Oppenheimer was forced to acknowledge that practically all countries of Latin America have already opposed a foreign intervention in Venezuela.

Cornered, the journalist tried to save his image when saying, but it’s unclear what would happen if more Venezuelans moved to neighboring countries.

He therefore gave credit to the hope that cynically keep depositing in the effects of the vicious attack of Washington against the South American nation.

The truth is that, as it has been defined for good, the vermin from Washington can’t be trusted a bit.

Trump Taxes Show $1.7 Billion In Losses Over Decade: Report

Washington: US President Donald Trump's taxes show that he lost $1.7 billion over a decade starting in the mid-1980s, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Trump's apparent losses are greater than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, so much so that he managed to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.

Trump's federal tax forms from 1985 show he reported $46.1 million in losses from his main businesses, which consisted mainly of casinos, hotels and retail spaces in apartment buildings.

Over the course of the next 10 years, they continued to lose money, with losses totaling $1.7 billion by 1994, the Times said.

The report comes the day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied Democratic lawmakers' request for Trump's tax returns, saying it "lacks a legitimate purpose," raised constitutional questions and threatened taxpayer privacy.

"I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the committee's request," Mnuchin said in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal.

Mnuchin's refusal after a month of deliberation appeared certain to spark yet another legal clash between the embattled president and congressional Democrats who now control the House of Representatives.

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‘Investigate the investigators’ is new Trump rallying cry to counter Mueller report

For President Trump’s reelection effort, “Investigate the investigators!” is becoming the new “Lock her up!”

Trump and his allies, seeking to amplify claims that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign, are seizing on news reports and statements by Attorney General William P. Barr to launch a political rallying cry they view as an antidote to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings.

Dismissed by critics as an outlandish conspiracy theory, so-called “spygate” is fast becoming a central feature of the Trump campaign as it seeks to go on offense in the wake of a report that identified 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump. The campaign is publicly calling for criminal investigations into former FBI officials, making “spygate” fundraising pitches and selling spy-themed merchandise. The goal, officials said, is to turn the Russia probe into a political winner that could help him secure another term. 

“After two years of [investigations] and being vindicated, and now in fact the tables are turning in that the investigators will be investigated, there’s a certain amount of righteous indignation that’s warranted,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump’s reelection bid. “The president has already shown that he wants to talk about it. He’s been tweeting about it. I’m sure he’ll talk about it at rallies. It’s something that the campaign will continue to point to.”

Murtaugh highlighted a Thursday article from the New York Times describing how the FBI sent an investigator posing as a research assistant to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in 2016 — a covert effort to better understand the campaign’s links to Russia. Murtaugh said it was “astounding” that the story had not received as much media coverage as some Russia-related episodes unearthed by Mueller.

Referring to the story on Friday, Trump said it was “bigger than Watergate, as far as I’m concerned.”

Trump has long sought to paint his political opponents as criminally suspect, spending much of 2016 leading “Lock her up!” chants that targeted his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

After Trump’s own conduct became the subject of Mueller’s criminal investigation — which did not establish that his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference but indicated that he may have obstructed justice — the president is aiming to change the narrative by highlighting the allegations of improper spying by the FBI.

Trump has gotten a boost from Barr, who used recent congressional hearings about Mueller’s probe to express concerns that the Trump campaign may have been the victim of improper surveillance. When pressed, Barr declined to offer evidence and said he was simply “concerned about it” and “looking into it.”

Republicans have long claimed that the FBI’s actions targeting Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser whose communications were secretly surveilled in late 2016 and early 2017 under a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, amounted to political spying. Surveillance of Page took place after he left the Trump campaign and was authorized by several judges.

Democrats have criticized Barr’s allegations as irresponsible and have dismissed Trump’s charges of spying as a political smokescreen aimed at distracting from Mueller’s findings.

“The Trump campaign is trying to use a debunked conspiracy theory to distract from the Trump administration’s attacks on the rule of law and its attempts to cover up Mueller’s findings,” said Daniel Wessel, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. “Voters won’t be fooled.”

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is conducting an internal investigation into aspects of the Russia probe, including the FISA warrant targeting Page. Barr has said Horowitz’s report would probably be completed in May or June.

Trump has also said he will soon be declassifying documents related to the warrant.

“Declassifying that and much more — yes,” Trump said Wednesday in an interview with Boston Herald Radio’s “The Adriana Cohen Show.” “I will be releasing that and many other things.”

Trump’s focus on re-litigating the origins of the Russia probe serves a purpose beyond ginning up his political base, campaign aides and allies said.

It helps the president create a new narrative casting himself as a victim even as House Democrats pursue multiple investigations into Trump, his administration and his businesses.

As Democrats issue subpoenas, hold hearings and seek to interview witnesses identified in the Mueller report, Trump and his allies plan to offer counterprogramming by intensifying their public scrutiny of the Russia probe’s origins. 

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump confidant and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has said he plans to investigate the investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“When the Mueller report is put to bed, and it soon will be, this committee is going to look long and hard at how this all started,” he said Wednesday during a hearing with Barr.

The Mueller report documented that the FBI’s counterintelligence probe began after a foreign government alerted U.S. officials that Papadopoulos claimed in 2016 that he had heard about a Russian effort to help the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging information about Clinton.

The Mueller report also documented multiple contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials as the Kremlin was taking action to interfere in the election. Several Trump aides were receptive to Russian help, and some were convicted of lying to investigators about their communications with Russians, the report found. Mueller did not establish that Trump’s campaign conspired in Russia’s effort to influence the election.

Trump allies believe there’s political benefit in continuing to talk about the Russia investigation, as it allows the president to cast himself as a victim of powerful forces like the FBI. Most do not mention that the FBI did not reveal its investigation into Trump’s campaign until after the election, while it made unprecedented disclosures about its investigation into Clinton’s use of private email for government business.

Clinton, who was not charged, has said that her loss was partially caused by those FBI disclosures in the days before the election.

Bryan Lanza, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and transition, said the president can prevail politically by using the Russia investigation to attack the Democrats.

“There are partisan Democrats that want to turn the page on an ugly part of American history,” he said. “But we’re not going to let them do that.”

The Trump campaign has already sought to turn the spying allegations into a fundraising pitch. There’s some evidence it’s working. A Republican Party official said that Trump’s campaign has had two days of fundraising totals above $1 million since the Mueller report was released last month. A campaign official said fundraising in the 24 hours after the report was released to the public and Congress on April 18 was up about 250 percent from previous days. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal fundraising figures.

The campaign, meanwhile, has been selling spy-themed merchandise. One T-shirt for sale depicts former president Barack Obama donning a set of spy glasses while lurking in thick green shrubbery.

  • Published in World

Civilians are the real victims (and targets) of Trump’s Venezuela sanctions

The Trump administration claims that its increasingly punitive sanctions on Venezuela “do not target the innocent people” but the government of President Nicolas Maduro. A new report on the effects of sanctions debunks that myth.

The analysis, compiled by Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), found that the sanctions have increased hunger, disease, mortality, have displaced millions of Venezuelans and exacerbated the country's economic crisis. Overall, the report says the measures have caused “very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths” between 2017 and 2018.

Weisbrot and Sachs, both well-known American economists, wrote that:

The sanctions in fact “fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population” as described by the Geneva and Hague conventions, as well as being “illegal under international law.”

Also on rt.com ‘Direct nexus between US sanctions & death’ – UN rapporteur slams ‘economic war’ on Venezuela...

Yet, a totally different narrative has been adopted by mainstream media in the US, which seems to unquestioningly accept the Trump administration’s claims that civilians are not the targets. Ever since Trump recognized unelected opposition figure Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s self-declared “interim president” in January while calling for the overthrow of Maduro, big chunks of the media have cheered on his efforts. It barely even raised eyebrows when national security advisor John Bolton went on Fox News and admitted that oil was the US’s major interest in the country.

Sanctions imposed by the White House in August 2017 prohibited the Venezuelan government from borrowing in US financial markets — a punishment which prevented it from being able to restructure its foreign debt and, in turn, hampering any possible economic recovery.

That round of measures also impacted oil production, which crashed and was “very likely the main shock that pushed the economy from its high inflation” into a state of “hyperinflation,” the report says.

Study finds that US sanctions on Venezuela have killed at least 40,000 Venezuelans since 2014. Liberals who applaud sanctions should be ashamed

The fresh rounds of sanctions introduced in January and February 2019 cut Venezuela off from its largest oil market, the US, which had purchased 35.6 percent of its exports in 2018. Oil revenues are now projected to fall by a “cataclysmic and unprecedented” 67.5 percent from 2018 as a result of those measures and US pressure on other countries, including India, to refrain from buying Venezuelan oil. The 2019 sanctions have also cut Venezuela off from most international payments systems, “thus ending much of the country’s access” to “essential imports including medicine and food.”

US sanctions have also contributed “substantially”to the “the length and economic damage of power outages” that occurred in March since they have limited Venezuela's access to diesel fuel, which it needs to run backup thermal generators.

Also on rt.com Venezuela blackouts: Maduro blames the US, but is it possible?

In a revealing exchange with AP reporter Matt Lee in March, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as much as admitted that civilians are the real victims of US sanctions, saying the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is “increasing by the hour” and “you can see the increasing pain and suffering” that the people are enduring.

If, as Pompeo claimed before, that “innocent” Venezuelans were not the targets, surely such visible increases in human suffering would be troubling to him and would perhaps make Washington think twice about imposing harsher and harsher measures. Yet, Pompeo appears to see increasing hardship as proof that sanctions are working, laying bare the reality that the US’s goal is to inflict so much suffering that the people eventually revolt against Maduro and support US regime change efforts out of sheer desperation.

The CEPR report also highlights that US executive orders since March 2015 have declared the US is suffering from a “national emergency” with regard to the Venezuela crisis. Such a declaration is "required by US law in order to impose such sanctions." One of Trump's executive orders even describes the situation in Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” of the US — a claim which Weisbrot and Sachs say has “no basis in fact.”

Also on rt.com ‘Good for business’: Trump adviser Bolton admits US interest in Venezuela’s ‘oil capabilities’...

The so-called “emergency” regarding Venezuela was invoked under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, which happens to be the same law Trump used to declare a “national emergency” at the US's southern border in February. That move prompted outrage across much of the mainstream media, but barely any media batted an eyelid when he declared Venezuela’s domestic crisis to be a US national emergency.

Ultimately, despite claims to the contrary, Weisbrot and Sachs say that US sanctions have locked Venezuela into “a downward economic spiral” which has “severe” consequences for the civilian population.

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Russian Intel: West 'Tearing Apart' Venezuela Like Syria, Libya

Western countries, Naryshkin highlighted, "are tearing Venezuela apart cynically and following the same patterns as in Libya and Syria. The U.S. retakes the Monroe Doctrine."

Chief of Russian Intelligence Sergei Naryshkin has denounced the "tearing apart" of Venezuela and promoting of the humanitarian catastrophe in the Latin American nation by Western countries.

RELATED: Russian Minister Denounces US Exerting Pressure on Venezuela

According to Naryshkin, Russia has observed signs that the United States is making preparations for a military operation against Venezuela. "There are those signs, but it will be seen over time if this plan is carried out," Naryshkin said.

The intelligence official further pointed out that the United States is being duplicitous in its actions.

"The White House itself insists on the danger of uncontrolled migration, it will spend billions to reinforce the border with Mexico and at the same time [in Venezuela] it kindles the fire of a new civil conflict and provokes a new humanitarian catastrophe."

Western countries, Naryshkin highlighted, "are tearing Venezuela apart cynically and following the same patterns as in Libya and Syria. The U.S. retakes the Monroe Doctrine."

The Monroe Doctrine establishes that any intervention by European countries in the Americas would be seen as an act of aggression that would require U.S. intervention.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said all options for "restoring democracy" in Venezuela remain at the table, including military intervention.

The United States government also accused Russia of "intervening" in the Nicolas Maduro-led Venezuela and threatened intervention into the South American country despite the United Nations’ disapproval.  

"In the Western Hemisphere, the United States is taking up the Monroe doctrine, which aims to limit the sovereignty of Latin American countries, to put pressure on those who do not follow the same policies as Washington, as an instrument of pressure they take into account all possible methods, including force," Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated Wednesday.

At the beginning of the 20th century, this doctrine was complemented with the thesis that conflicts in Latin America should be resolved by Washington.

The policy was previously used to combat the Soviet influence and socialism in Cuba and other countries in the region.

Russia along with China, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Turkey, Mexico, Iran and many other countries recognize Maduro as the legitimate president and denounce any external interference in Venezuelan internal affairs.

Meanwhile, the United States, several countries in Europe and Latin America -  including Brazil - back illegitimate, self-appointed leader Juan Guaido.

 

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US Ends Sanction Waivers for Countries Importing Iranian oil

The waiver allowed China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece to buy Iranian oil without the risk of sanctions by Washington. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to eliminate all waivers issued to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions, the White House said on Monday, while vowing to ensure global oil market was well supplied.

RELATED: John Bolton Admits US-backed Coup in Venezuela Is About Oil, Not Democracy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make an announcement on Monday detailing the decision.

"The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied," the White House said.

Oil prices spiked after Sunday reports that the waivers would end and remained higher on Monday. International benchmark Brent rose 2.6 percent to US$73.87 a barrel after earlier touching US$74.31, highest since early November. U.S. crude futures gained 2.4 percent, or US$1.52 a barrel, to US$65.52.

Earlier it touched a high of US$65.87, a level not seen since late October.

The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers. Washington says its actions are meant to pressure Iran to curtail its nuclear program and stop backing militant proxies across the Middle East.

Along with sanctions, Washington granted waivers to eight economies that had reduced their purchases of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue buying it without incurring sanctions for six more months. They were China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

However, the United Nations watchdog for nuclear weapons has repeatedly said that Iran has in fact complied with the terms of the nuclear deal. 

In a quarterly report distributed to member states in February, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran had kept to the caps placed on its uranium enrichment levels and enriched uranium stocks as part of the 2015 accord, signed in Austria's capital, Vienna. 

The European nations that negotiated and co-signed the deal with Iran have repeatedly rejected the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the deal, saying that they would carry on respecting the deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  • Published in World
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