On Wednesday, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-LA) went to the White House to announce a new immigration bill alongside President Trump. Trump announced the plan thusly: “This would be the most significant reform to the immigration system in half a century. It is a historic and very vital proposal.”
Trump points out in his proposal that the system of legal immigration currently in place costs the United States in terms of welfare (“More than 50 percent of all immigrant households receive welfare benefits, compared to only 30 percent of native households in the United States that receive welfare benefits”). This is eminently correct. It is also true that legal immigration should take into account the culture of immigrants — are they likely to assimilate to American notions of liberty?
With that background in mind, Trump’s proposal encompasses several points, all related to creating a merit-based system rather than a family-based system for new legal immigrants. It would reward “education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative.” It would reduce immigration among low-skilled and unskilled labor. It would prioritize immediate family members of U.S. residents, but not extended family members; it would make way for elderly family members. It would do away with the Diversity Visa lottery system, and limit refugee status to 50,000 people per year.