President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he backs a plan to reduce legal immigration in the United States by 50% over the next ten years. The plan would limit American citizens’ ability to bring family members into the country.
The plan’s long-reaching laws would be the most substantial change to the legal immigration system in decades.
The bill was endorsed in the Senate, with Trump appearing with Republican Senator Tom Cotton and David Perdue to reveal their modified version of the bill. The original bill was introduced in February, but has been revised away from the original “merit-based” system that was proposed.
The legislation would reduce annual green cards from over 1 million to just over 500,000.
Trump’s endorsement of the bill meets one of his campaign promises where he argued that immigration harmed opportunities for American workers. “Among those who have been hit hardest in recent years are immigrants and minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals,” states Trump.
“It has not been fair to our people, our citizens and our workers,” he continued.
Support for the bill is limited, with Republicans unlikely to reach the 60 votes needed for the bill to pass through the Senate. Trump’s administration has been accused of laying down groundwork and pursuing policies that will negatively affect immigrants and racial minorities.
The legislation, titled Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, will eliminate the ability for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens to be able to apply for green cards. Spouses and minor children would still be allowed to apply for a green card.
A point system would be created under the system that takes into account education, English ability, job skills and additional factors to rank applicants for employment-based green cards.
Refuge admission would have a cap of 50,000 per year, with the visa diversity lottery also ending.