Trump, GOP Senators Champion Bill to Cut Legal Immigration Levels

Critics of the bill also attacked its revisions to family-based immigration, arguing that such measures will dissuade skilled immigrants who would otherwise want to come to the US. However, the White House has been pushing for a bill that matches some of the goals that are expected to be in the new bill from Perdue and Cotton. It creates jobs in America.

Trump also defended the use of foreign labor at his resort properties, which have continued to request worker visas since his election.

The proposal would then establish a grading system for new immigrants where the prospective green card holders would be judged on their median salary, advanced degrees, ability to speak English, skills needed by the economy and whether you are able to afford your own health care.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled legislation meant to slash legal immigration to the United States by reducing the amount of low-skilled immigrants who are allotted green cards.

United States authorities issue about a million permanent residence permits, also known as "green cards", every year.

Robbins, who regularly meets with GOP lawmakers, added: "There is overwhelming support in Congress for the idea of immigration as an economic driver, including in the Republican conference".

"Cotton says the number of green cards awarded each year - about a million - is excessive".

The changes proposed in their bill, called the RAISE Act, would be the "biggest change in 50 years" to the immigration system, Trump said, and reflect the administration's "compassion for struggling American families that deserve an immigrant system that puts their needs first". According to Cotton's estimates, the RAISE Act would reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted to the United States by 50 percent over a ten-year period. A stunning 18 percent held an advanced degree, also much higher than the US average.

Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric was reiterated by Cotton who offered the same populist frame that said little but implied quite a lot. Refugee organizations said permanently limiting number of refugees allowed in the country goes against an American value of offering safe haven to people fleeing violence and oppression.

Graham said the legislation would primarily target immigrants who work in the state's agriculture, tourism, and service industries, and would even prompt greater amounts of illegal immigration.

Trump has also been reluctant to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, started by President Barack Obama, which provides work authorizations to immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children.

"Our system is broken, but the response should be to modernize it, not take a sledgehammer to it", said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy, a group of business leaders, mayors and others backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that advocates for comprehensive 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".

  • Rogelio Becker