Trump picks merit over family in immigration plan

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on May 16, 2019 - Duration: 02:19s

Trump picks merit over family in immigration plan

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he wants to overhaul the immigration system to favor young, educated, English-speaking applicants with job offers instead of people with family ties to Americans, a plan with little chance of advancing in Congress.

Nathan Frandino has more.

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Trump picks merit over family in immigration plan

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "A new legal immigration system... attracts the best and brightest in the world." U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday outlined his long-awaited immigration overhaul plan.

He's calling for HEIGHTENED SECURITY along the BORDER with Mexico and STRICTER LIMITS ON LEGAL IMMIGRATION.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Currently, 66 percent of legal immigrants come here on the basis of random chance.

They're admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States." Trump's plan - spearheaded by son-in-law Jared Kushner - would prioritize letting in people with advanced training and skills.

But critics on the right and left quickly pointed to what they said were MAJOR HOLES in the plan.

MOST NOTABLY, THE PLAN DOES NOT address the recent SURGE in asylum seekers from Central America.

Nearly 100,000 came in April alone.

Those numbers are straining federal facilities like this one in McAllen, Texas, where Reuters photos taken this week showed migrants sleeping on the ground under makeshift awnings.

Even before Trump's rollout, his proposals were already drawing fire, including from one of his staunchest Republican supporters in Congress, Senator Lindsey Graham.

He told reporters on Wednesday, quote, "The White House's plan is not designed to become law." Graham this week rolled out his own plan, which would allow migrant families to be held longer while awaiting deportation.

Other Republicans want to know what the White House plans to do about the estimated 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally, including some 1 million brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as Dreamers.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Trump's focus on LEGAL immigration puts the cart before the horse.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SEN.

MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA, SAYING: "I've always believe that you have to begin with border security and getting illegal immigration under control and the next step would be to modernize our legal immigration system." And with Democrats in control of the House, the proposal's prospects for passage are even slimmer.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER, (D) CALIFORNIA, SAYING: "But I want to say something about the word they use, 'merit'.

It's really a condescending word.

Are they saying family has no merit?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We're already building the wall." Trump's plan once again calls for funding his elusive border wall - which Congress has repeatedly rejected.

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