Donald Trump’s administration is developing plans to significantly cut legal immigration into the United States, fulfilling one of his major campaign promises, a report from Politico has revealed.
According to the report, Trump plans to support a bill prepared by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) later this summer that proposes a 50 percent cut in legal immigration until 2027 to help raise Americans’ productivity.
“Senator Cotton knows that being more deliberate about who we let into our country will raise working-class wages, which is why an overwhelming majority of Americans support it,” Caroline Rabbitt, a spokeswoman for Cotton, told the outlet. “He and Senator Perdue are working with President Trump to fix our immigration system so that instead of undercutting American workers, it will support them and their livelihoods.”
The senators have also been working closely with White House aide Stephen Miller, known for his firm pro-American stance on immigration. While working as a staff member for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he was Senator for Alabama, Miller was credited with helping to defeat a bipartisan 2013 immigration-expansion plan dubbed the “Gang of Eight” bill.
“In order to be eligible for citizenship, you’ll have to demonstrate you are self-sufficient and you don’t receive welfare,” a senior administration official from the White House told Politico. “You’re going to reduce low-skilled immigration substantially, which will protect American workers and recent immigrants.”
Promises to curb immigration, both legal and illegal, were an integral part of Trump’s campaign, with Trump proposing a pause on legal immigration for “one, maybe two years,” in response to 50 years of continuously rising levels.
During his first speech to Congress in February, Trump said he favored a “merit-based” immigration system, such as the Canadian and Australian points-based systems. The merit-based policies prioritize highly productive immigrants over so-called “chain migration” of extended families. Trump said:
Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more benefits. It will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class.
However, the bill could divide an already fractured Republican Party, with many establishment politicians, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC), who argue that mass immigration expands the economy by increasing the number of consumers and lower-wage workers.
Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March revealed that levels of immigration, both legal and illegal, are at a 100-year high, with approximately one million legal migrants entering the country each year. Four million Americans turn 18 each year.
Under current projections, the migrant population of America, which currently stands at 13.5 percent—will reach 15 percent by 2023.
Multiple polls show that a large majority Americans wants businesses and schools to hire and teach Americans before migrants, and many polls show much stronger support for immigration reductions than support for increased immigration.
Levels of legal family “chain-migration” have already fallen under the Trump administration, with the number of extended-family members entering the United States falling from 10,000 in the last three months of the Obama administration, to 6,800 in the first three months of the Trump presidency.