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Can’t forget our dreamers, says Trump calling for merit-based immigration system

Donald Trump said nearly seven in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes a permanent solution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

world Updated: Feb 02, 2018 14:58 IST
PTI, Washington
DACA,Donald Trump,US President
US President Donald Trump addresses the Republican National Committee's winter meeting at the Washington Hilton in Washington.(Reuters File Photo)

US President Donald Trump has reaffirmed that he favours an immigration system which is fair, equitable and based on merit instead of visa lottery, a mechanism he described as “terrible”.

He made the remarks on Thursday during his address to the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference in West Virginia.

“We want an immigration policy that is fair, equitable, but that is going to protect our people.We want people coming into our country based on merit and based on the fact that they are going to love our country, respect our people and our country,” Trump said.

“We don’t want visa lottery.‘Pick a lottery ticket.Pick a lottery.’We don’t want that.So we want it (immigration) based on merit,” he said to a wide applause from Republican lawmakers.

The White House had earlier defended President Trump’s proposal for a merit-based immigration system, saying the flood of low-skilled immigrants into the US has suppressed wages, harmed American workers, and strained federal resource.

Trump told the Republican conference on Thursday that the Congress now had a chance to pass into law the immigration reforms that the American people have been demanding for decades and that many of them have been working on for their entire careers.

“We have a great opportunity as a Republican Party.As the Republican Party, we have a great opportunity.We are getting very little help from the Democrats, but I hope after I leave this room, we’re going to get a call from these people saying, ‘Let’s go’,” he said.

Trump said nearly seven in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes a permanent solution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

DACA recipients are often referred to as ‘Dreamers’ -- people who were brought to the US as children by their parents.

“And I’ve been hearing about DACA for so many years. Some people call it DREAMers.It’s not DREAMers,don’t fall into that trap.It’s just much different than DREAMers.And I said the other night, you know, we have dreamers too.We have dreamers in this country, too.You can’t forget our dreamers. I have a lot of dreamers here,” he said.

He alleged that the Opposition Democrats do not want to help the ‘dreamers’.

“We want to take care of DACA, and I hope we will.We need the support of the Democrats in order to do it, and they might not want to do it.They talk like they do, but I don’t think they do.But we’re going to find out very soon,” he said.

“We want something that is very, very tough and strong, in terms of the border.We need to end chain migration, and we need to cancel the terrible visa lottery.And those are the four pillars that I talked about the other night.We call them the White House framework -- a plan that will finally bring our immigration system into the 21st Century,” Trump said.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 14:58 IST