Trump Backs Bill to Drastically Cut Legal Immigration

Legislation would not allow as many immigrants in based on family ties
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2017 4:50 PM CDT
President Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R- Ark., left, and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Legal immigration to the US would be cut in half within 10 years under legislation supported by President Trump. Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia are sponsoring the bill, which would place big restrictions on immigrants who are allowed to come into the US based on family ties, the New York Times reports. The result would be a higher proportion of immigrants coming to the US based on job skills, though the overall number of those granted legal residency would stay about the same. Trump invited Cotton and Perdue to the White House so he could throw his support behind the bill Wednesday. The AP reports the Senate has so far "largely ignored the measure."

The legislation would introduce what Trump called a "competitive application process," a points-based system that would "favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy." He said the US has allowed in too many immigrants with low skills, thanks to the ability of US citizens and legal residents to bring in their family members; that's how most legal immigrants are currently admitted to the country. But the Pew Research Center said in 2015 that 41% of immigrants over the previous five years held college degrees; 18% held advanced degrees. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke out against the proposed bill, noting it would be "devastating" to his state's economy due to its reliance on the immigrant work force. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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