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December 16 2017, 10:34 | Irvin Gilbert
Trump, senators to unveil skills-based immigration bill | Democrats surge ahead on generic ballot: poll
David Perdue, R-Ga., spoke in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, today, during the unveiling of legislation that would place new limits on legal immigration.
Trump was appearing with Republican Sens.
The president met at the White House with two Republican senators pushing the legislation, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 1 million immigrants gained permanent residency in the United States in 2015.
The lawmakers also called to replace so-called "low-skill visas", typically granted to temporary and seasonal laborers, with a points-based system that would allow immigrants to receive a green card. You can make the traditional argument about fewer immigrants meaning higher wages for Americans but most voters are aware of that trade-off, I suspect. Contrary to the xenophobic and misguided stereotypes that belie the RAISE Act, immigrants contribute immensely to our economy, create jobs for all Americans, and increase safety in our communities. The bill would only allow for spouses and young children to emigrate to the US and join their green card-holding sponsor.
But backers of stricter immigration limits say allowing unskilled people into the country keeps wages low, especially for workers with only a high-school diploma or less.
The (National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) report assembles research from 14 leading economists, demographers and other scholars, including some, like Marta Tienda of Princeton, who write favorably about the impacts of immigration and others who are skeptical of its benefits, like George J. Borjas, a Harvard economist.
Trump also defended the use of foreign labor at his resort properties, which have continued to request worker visas since his election.
Top White House aides have been working with Perdue and Cotton on the bill that, if passed, would dramatically remake the current immigration system, which allows a number of ways to bring family members to the U.S. along with job-based visas. GOP leaders have showed no inclination to vote on immigration this year.
"This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and puts America first", Trump said, speaking straight to his most loyal voters.
"We want a merit-based system, one that protects our workers, our taxpayers, and one that protects our economy".
But the president is mischaracterizing numerous immigrants coming to the United States as low-skilled and dependent on government aid.
The Associated Press reports how "the president is mischaracterizing numerous immigrants coming to the United States as low-skilled and dependent on government aid". and quotes Pew Research figures: The Pew Research Center said in 2015 that 41 percent of immigrants who had arrived in the past five years held a college degree, much higher than the 30 percent of non-immigrants in the United States. The level is now higher than at most periods in US history.
Trump has made immigration one of his signature issues, but his electoral campaign had primarily focused on reducing illegal immigration and the construction of a wall along the Mexican border.
Trump is not grudging Cotton any praise, calling the latest move the "most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century".
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement the proposal would "help the Department of Justice perform its duties to uphold our nation's immigration law and end the unlawful abuse of our public benefits program that undermine USA taxpayers".
The proposal has been praised by groups that advocate reduced immigration, including NumbersUSA and the Federation of Immigration Reform.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement the bill would "end programs known to be rife with fraud and abuse and finally improve the vetting process, making our country-and working-class wages-much safer and stronger".