With illegal immigration on the decline, President Trump is now working to improve the quality of legal immigrants.
According to The Washington Times, President Trump threw his support Wednesday behind a Senate bill that would cut legal immigration in half and implement a new merit-based system that emphasizes English-speaking immigrants who can demonstrate job skills.
Meeting at the White House with GOP Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the bill’s sponsors, the president said the revised legislation “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.”
The measure, known as the RAISE Act, “will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars,” Mr. Trump said.
The legislation would slash legal immigration in half, to 500,000 per year, over the next decade. The senators said it would replace the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merits.
Mr. Cotton said the current immigration system is “an obsolete disaster” in which only 1 immigrant in 15 comes to the U.S. because of their job skills.
“I think it’s a symbol that we’re not committed to working-class Americans,” Mr. Cotton said of the current system.
The new system would reward education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative. The White House said it would be similar to the merit-based immigration systems used by Canada and Australia.
The measure prioritizes immediate family members of U.S. residents, including spouses and minor children, but would end preferences for extended family members and adult children.