President Donald Trump delivered a major speech on Thursday, detailing a new merit-based immigration plan for the United States and a stronger border enforcement mechanism.
“Democrats are proposing open borders, lower wages and, frankly, lawless chaos,” Trump said. “We are proposing an immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages and safety of American workers first.”
The president spoke about the proposal during a speech from the Rose Garden at the White House. Trump stressed that the plan was not a plan developed by politicians, but by border enforcement professionals.
“Our proposal is pro-America, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker,” he said. “It’s just common sense.”
Trump said that the current system allowed immigrants to come in at random regardless of skill, allowing them to compete with Americans for entry-level jobs.
“We discriminate against genius. We discriminate against brilliance,” he said about the current system. “We won’t anymore once we get this passed.”
Trump’s new proposal would favor a point-based system of immigration, where youth, income level, and worker skills are given a priority.
He said that any immigrants coming to the United States would need to be financially sufficient, learn English, and pass a civics exam before they could come to America.
“When we swear in new citizens, we do more than give them a permit, we give them a history, a heritage, a home, and a future of limitless possibilities and potential,” he said.
Trump criticized the current system of allowing migrants without authentic asylum claims to go free into the country
“Unfortunately legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims,” he said.
But he proposed a new system that would work to speed up the legal proceedings for legitimate claims.
The plan would also put into place a self-sustained border security trust fund with proposed border fees.
The president acknowledged that his plan would face political opposition from Democrats, but urged Republicans to rally around the bill as the 2020 elections approached.
“If for some reason, possibly political, we can’t get the Democrats to approve this merit-based, high-security plan, then we’ll get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House, keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency,” he said as supporters in the audience clapped and cheered.