Trump to back plan that would curb legal immigration

Marsha Scott
August 3, 2017

President Donald Trump will join two leading Republican senators at the White House on Wednesday to formally introduce a bill that would slash legal immigration levels in half and implement a merit-based system for potential migrants, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

He said the new system would "favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy".

The RAISE Act reduces overall immigration numbers to limit low-skilled and unskilled labor entering the United States.

The bill also proposed to eliminate certain pathways to family-based immigration, stipulating that only spouses and minor children of United States citizens and permanent residents would be eligible for green cards.

"We are taking action to fix some of the shortcomings in our legal immigration system", Perdue said at the time.

Cotton and Perdue's early version of the legislation had proposed a 50% reduction in annual immigration over the next 10 years, allotting green cards for just 539,958 immigrants in 2027 compared to the 1,051,031 that received them in 2015.

Trump couched the Cotton-Perdue sponsored bill in the familiar language of resentment, arguing that such drastic measures "will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars".

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"There are no conversations about any Cabinet members moving in any capacity", she said, adding that Trump "has 100 percent confidence in all members of his Cabinet". In addition, the bill would also prevent new immigrants from collecting welfare.

By contrast, the USA took in an average of about 1.1 million legal immigrants annually from 2000 to 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

But backers of stricter immigration limits say allowing unskilled people into the country keeps wages low, especially for workers with only a high-school diploma or less.

Sen. Perdue said during remarks at the White House that a bill to protect USA workers like this is "why we're here". And the bill caps refugee levels at 50,000 per year.

Cotton and Perdue's bill is likely to face the same uphill climb in the Senate that it had in February.

"Our system is broken, but the response should be to modernize it, not take a sledgehammer to it", said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy, a group of business leaders, mayors and others backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. "Second, it cleans up our tangle of employment-based immigration categories by creating a streamlined points system designed to select exceptional talents".

"Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers will tell you this proposal - to cut legal immigration in half - would put their businesses in peril", he said in a statement. Trump has previously couched support for the bill in terms of protecting American workers, who he says are hurt by the current immigration system.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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