President Donald Trump today threw his weight behind an immigration overhaul aimed at dramatically reducing the number of low-skilled migrants in the US and introducing a merit-based points system. The proposals would prioritise English speakers for green cards, and would put a cap on the number of refugees able to gain permanent residency at 50,000 a year. Trump endorsed the proposal in remarks at the White House, flanked by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who drafted the legislation. The president said the plan would represent “the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.” “Our system does not prioritize the most highly skilled immigrants-just one out of every 15 immigrants to the United States comes here because of their skills,” the White House said in a statement previewing Trump’s remarks.
“On average, one million immigrants are accepted into the United States for legal permanent residency annually, and most of them are low or unskilled workers. This influx is the equivalent of adding more than the population of San Francisco to the country every year.” Trump said the new system, if approved, would “help ensure that newcomers to our wonderful country will be assimilated, will succeed and achieve the American dream,” while also protecting “struggling American families.”
Critics say that the proposals would result in an actual reduction of wages across the board, by slashing the number of migrants creating jobs. “High-skilled immigrants are huge economic multipliers,” the libertarian CATO institute said in a recent report claiming every skilled migrant coming to the US creates 1.8 jobs for native-born Americans.