The flood of low-skilled immigrants into the US has suppressed wages, harmed American workers, and strained federal resources, the White House said as it defended President Donald Trump’s proposal for a merit-based immigration system.
According to the White House, countries like Canada and Australia use a merit-based immigration system that benefits both the immigrants and those nations.
“A merit-based system would properly match the needs of the modern United States economy and protect vulnerable blue- collar American workers,” the White House said, a day after Trump in his first State of the Union address pushed for an immigration policy that attracts the best and the brightest to the US.
The White cited a recent Harvard-Harris poll, according to which 79 per cent of those polled believed the immigration system should be based on an alien’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills.
“The flood of low-skilled immigrants into the United States has suppressed wages, harmed American workers, and strained federal resources,” it said.
The White House insisted that the time has come to enact common-sense reforms to base immigration on individual merit and skill and to emphasise close familial relationships.
“Under our current immigration law, a single immigrant may sponsor numerous relatives to resettle in the United States as lawful permanent residents, including relatives beyond their nuclear family.
“Each family member of the principal immigrant who comes to the United States as a permanent resident can, in turn, sponsor relatives beyond his or her own nuclear family,” it said.
Between two-thirds and 70 per cent of legal immigration into the United States is based on family relations. Between 2005 and 2015, the United States admitted 9.3 million immigrants based on family relations, it said.
“On Tuesday, Trump called for ending the visa lottery program, and therefore stopping our current practice of awarding green cards without consideration of skills or merit,” it said.