US immigration revamp could upend traditional path to America

World Today

US immigration revamp could upend traditional path to America

President Trump is facing a fresh round of criticism following his support for a plan to revamp U.S. immigration policy. He called the system “broken” and wants to replace it.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports on one man’s journey to become a U.S. citizen.

Ali Tavakoli runs a successful insurance agency outside Washington, D.C., but his life wasn’t always so easy.

In 2002, Tavakoli’s wife won a Green Card in the lottery, and the couple decided as a family to come to the U.S. Leaving his native Iran for an uncertain future, he couldn’t speak English, had few skills and could only find work in a restaurant kitchen.

US immigration revamp could upend traditional path to America

Ali Tavakoli and family.

“If anybody asks me if it’s easy to come to the U.S., I tell them you have to get yourself ready for a big challenge,” Tavakoli cautions.

After arriving, he learned English, built a successful business that employs three people, and teaches business part-time at a local college. Tavakoli and his wife became naturalized citizens and had two children.

“Every time I pick a job or pick a responsibility, I always think about how I can pay back the community, how I can make this country better, because my kids are going to grow up here,” he said.

Stories like Tavakoli’s could become a thing of the past, however, if a new immigration plan supported by President Donald Trump is implemented. Under the plan, prospective immigrants would be barred from entering the country through the lottery system, and would instead be judged on a merit-based point system.

According to President Trump, the process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills the government says will contribute to the economy.

Total immigration would be cut in half.

Tavakoli hopes that any revisions to U.S. immigration policy will still include opportunities for people like him.

“You find so many smart or skilled people coming from different places here. They have so much to bring to the table, to bring to this country, to make it even better than what it is and get us to that great country everybody expects.”