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Trump faces battle on plans to slash migration to US

4 August 20170 comments

US President Donald Trump has announced laws intended to slash legal immigration to the United States by reducing the amount of low-skilled immigrants who are allotted green cards.

And his supporters have cited Australia as a model in revamping migration to the US to accept skilled, wealthier English speaking migrants over unskilled applicants.

The proposed change to a merit-based system, which still requires Congressional approval, has been strongly backed by President Trump who called it “the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century”.

He said his ‘RAISE Act’ will reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.

The move will mean sweeping changes to the US Green card system, cutting out automatic Green Cards for extended family members while introducing a merit points-based system.

“This competitive application process will favour applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” Mr Trump said.

Republican Senator David Purdue, who helped form the legislation, said Australia and Canada were the model for the bill.

“What we’re introducing today is modelled on the current Canadian and Australian systems,” he said.

“It’s pro-worker, pro-growth, and it’s been proven to work. Both have been extremely successful in attracting highly skilled workers to those countries.”

White House adviser Steven Miller said: “We looked at the Australian system, the Canadian system we took things we liked, we added things that made sense for America where we are as a country right now.”

“One of the things that’s most telling about the Australian system is the efforts to make sure immigrants are financially self-sufficient and make sure they are able to pay for their own health care and things like that,” he said.

The move will halve legal immigration into the US from one million people a year to 500,000 a year over ten years.

But Democrats are unlikely to support the bill and it’s unclear how much support it will attract from Republicans.

And, critics say the changes would undermine America’s long tradition of welcoming immigrants regardless of their status.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist