President Trump announced his endorsement of major immigration reform legislation Monday alongside Republican Sens. David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.).
The proposed bill would put new limits on immigration and create a system of U.S. admittance based on work skills. Both senators brought the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act” in February.
The president said if the legislation was approved it would be “the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.”
So far, the bill has gained little traction in the Senate. The bill’s supporters are optimistic saying it will make the U.S. more competitive, raise wages and create jobs.
Reforming American Immigration would replace the current process of obtaining U.S. residence, or green cards, by creating a skill-base point system for employment visas.
The bill would also cut the number of allowed refugees in half and eliminate the program that gives visas to countries with low rates of immigration.
“The bill would double the number of green cards available to high-skilled workers and would not affect other high or low-skilled worker visa programs such as H1-B and H2-B visas,” Cotton said.
In the Senate, no other lawmakers have yet to sign on to co-sponsor the bill. It’s likely the immigration reform proposal won’t be voted on in 2017, as GOP leaders have shown little interest and Democrats have dismissed the legislation.
The White House said that only 1 in 15 immigrants come to the U.S. based on needed skills, and the current system fails to place a priority on highly skilled immigrants.
Promoting a points-based system, the bill would likely favor those who can speak English, have high-paying job offers, can financially support themselves and offer skills that would contribute to the economy.
While campaigning, Trump said he would prevent new immigrants from collecting welfare for a period of time and help U.S. blue collar workers by reducing the numbers of immigrants.
Although this a major step for immigration reform, the House is still expected to mainly focused on health care, tax reform and a host of international issues.
Watch President Trump’s announcement at the White House with Sens. Perdue and Cotton below.
[CNN] [AP] [Photo courtesy Fox News]