The flood of low-skilled immigrants benefiting from current U.S. immigration laws has hurt American interests and strained federal resources, the White House said, defending President Donald Trump’s proposal for a merit-based immigration system.
The president offered an olive branch Tuesday night in his first State of the Union address to Congress. He called for bipartisan support in the House and Senate when they vote over the next few weeks on an immigration reform package.
Trump explained that the first pillar of the framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age.
“Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States,” Trump told lawmakers.
In a fact-sheet issued after the SOTU, the White House said the president’s framework would limit family sponsored immigrants to spouses and minor children, thus promoting nuclear family immigration and ending extended-family chain migration.
Under the current immigration law, a single immigrant may sponsor numerous relatives to resettle in the United States as lawful permanent residents, including relatives beyond their nuclear family.
Extended family migration has served as a leading source of low-skilled immigration into the United States, ultimately hurting vulnerable American workers, according to the White House.
The flood of low-skilled immigrants into the United States has suppressed wages, harmed American workers, and strained Federal resources, the White House claimed.
White House statistics show that currently, far more immigrants resettle in the United States based on family relations than on skill or merit.
A merit-based system would properly match the needs of the modern United States economy and protect vulnerable blue-collar American workers, the White House said.
Trump told the Congress that ending chain migration and the visa lottery will allow the U.S. to have commonsense immigration rules that promote assimilation and wage growth.