Border security talks break down
February 11, 2019
President Trump signals shift on legal immigration. Trump’s recent comments suggest his administration is willing to ease limits on high-skilled immigration. Trump has previously indicated he believes foreign workers may be able to relieve the hiring squeeze some domestic companies currently face. The Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), L. Francis Cissna, has expressed his support for considering new regulations for L-1 transfer visas, which allow American employers to transfer professionals with specialized knowledge from foreign offices to US offices. Related changes will have to overcome increased USCIS administrative backlogs. Any major changes to legal immigration fall under congressional authority. [WSJ]
President Trump plans to promote artificial intelligence (AI). Today, Trump is expected to sign an executive order directing federal agencies to dedicate resources to AI. AI is defined as software that allows machines to imitate human intelligence. The move comes amid the administration’s technological race against China. In addition to directing efforts towards AI research and development, the order will make government data available to AI developers. Privacy advocates will certainly resist this component of the order. There still remains major controversy over whether AI technology will displace American workers entirely or create jobs for them in other sectors. [The Hill]
Border security talks break down. On Sunday, congressional efforts to reach an agreement on border security ahead of another government shutdown collapsed. A major sticking point was a demand by Democrats for a 16,500-bed cap for undocumented immigrants held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has moved thousands of additional troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist with border patrol efforts. Absent a congressional compromise, much of the government is set to run out of funds on midnight this Friday. [NY Times]
Economic Indicators and News
The government shutdown has delayed the release of some data. Consumer Price Index data is to be released on February 13, and GDP data will be released on February 28.