The Trump administration has proposed changing the US immigration policy to a merit based system, in a move that would cut immigration to the US by half in 10 years.
Donald Trump announced the planned new laws at the White House on Wednesday, calling it “the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century” and also labelling the current system “an obsolete disaster”.
“The RAISE Act prevents new migrants and new immigrants from collecting welfare”, Trump said.
“And that’s a very big thing. They’re not going to come in and just immediately go and collect welfare. That doesn’t happen under the RAISE Act. They can’t do that.”
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Senator David Purdue cited Australia and Canada as models for the new bill, which would see wealthy, skilled, English speaking migrants prioritised over unskilled migrants when it comes to gaining entry to the United States.
“We looked at countries like Canada, Australia, and others”, Purdue said.
“What we’re introducing today is modelled on the current Canadian and Australian systems. It’s pro-worker, it’s pro-growth, and it’s been proven to work. Both have been extremely successful in attracting highly skilled workers to those countries.
“If we’re going to continue as the innovator in the world and the leader economically, it’s imperative that our immigration system focus on highly skilled, permanent workers who can add value to our economy and ultimately achieve their own version of the American Dream.
“It’s measured, it’s a rational approach to immigration that will allow us to finally fix once and for all this broken system in a strategic way that will reposition America as a global leader economically.”
At the moment, the bill has little chance of actually being passed by Congress, as Democrats are opposed to it, and Republicans divided.
America has historically been viewed as the “land of opportunity”, and critics say that the proposed legislation would undermine the opportunities that have long been afforded to migrants no matter what their background.