Trump backs bill to cut legal immigration, slash green card issues

The legislation seeks to promote a merit-based immigration system similar to that in Canada and Australia, but will also sharply reduce legal immigration, cutting the number of green cards issued every year.

world Updated: Aug 02, 2017 22:47 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Trump immigration bill,green cards,RAISE Act
US President Donald Trump speaks during an announcement on immigration reform accompanied by Senator Tom Cotton (Left) and Senator David Perdue, at the White House on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

US president Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a legislation that seeks to promote a merit-based immigration system similar to that in Canada and Australia, but which will also sharply reduce legal immigration, cutting the number of green cards issued every year.

The bill, which was moved by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue in February, promotes a system that “would represent the most significant reform to our immigrating system in a half a century”, president Trump said at a White House event announcing his support for the bill.

The legislation, he added, will let in only immigrants who “can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy”.

Called the RAISE Act — Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy — will reduce the “overall immigration numbers to limit low-skilled and unskilled labour entering the United States”, the White House said in a statement.

The legislation proposes to limit green cards to only spouses and minor children of US residents, and not to extended family members and adult children.

It also proposes to end the “diversity visa lottery” under which the US grants 50,000 green cards annually to people randomly selected from countries with low rates of immigration to the US.

The legislation also proposed to limit green cards to 50,000 refugees a year, which is in line with the 13-year average.

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 22:46 IST