WASHINGTON – Reuters – U.S. President Donald Trump and two Republican senators on Wednesday unveiled a plan at the White House to half the number of legal immigrants to the United States eventually and favor newcomers who speak English.
“This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” Trump said.
Trump said that the new legislation would help boost the pay of American workers and “help ensure that newcomers to our wonderful country will be assimilated, will succeed, and will achieve the American dream.”
It’s unclear when the Senate may take up the legislation. The initial immigration reform bill in February was opposed by some Republicans and business groups.
Trump’s support for the bill follows his campaign pledge to reform the country’s immigration system.
Under the new bill, the United States would prioritize high-skilled immigrants by setting up a merits-based system similar to those used by Canada and Australia.
Trump and the Republican lawmakers blasted the current immigration system as out of date and argued that it hurts American workers by driving down wages.
Trump threw his support behind a bill developed by senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that they say would cut legal immigration by 50 percent over 10 years by reducing the kinds of relatives immigrants can bring into the country. The legislation faces an uphill climb to get through Congress.
The bill – a revised version of an immigration-reform act introduced in February – would change the system for granting legal residency, or green cards, by giving priority to high-skilled immigrants who are English-speaking.