Trump Asks Congress To Consider Merit Based Immigration

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump asked Congress to consider merit based immigration system as the Senate begins to consider legislation to codify DACA protections into law.

Trump’s tweet comes as the Senate begins a period of debate on immigration in which lawmakers will try to conjure a bill capable of garnering the requisite 60 votes. A system of merit based immigration is unlikely to be considered in any bill as it would substantially reduce overall legal immigration to the U.S.

The president has insisted that any bill which will codify Obama-era protections for illegal immigrants into law must be accompanied by funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and that it must end both chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program.

Trump ended the DACA program in September, citing its likely unconstitutionality, giving lawmakers 6 months to hammer out a deal which conforms with his demands. The administration has released its own legislative framework for a bill it believes is a compromise solution which includes — $25 billion for border wall funding — in return for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Democratic legislative leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, however, have rejected the White House proposal outright, decrying its long term cuts to the immigration system and pledging not to allocate funds for a border wall. The president has repeatedly emphasized to Schumer and other democratic lawmakers that if there is no funding for a border wall then a legislative fix for the illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is a non starter.

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