Trump introduces merit-based immigration system that will favor applicants 'who can speak English'

President Trump, Tom Cotton, and David Perdue.
(Image credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, President Trump and Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced the RAISE Act, a skills-based immigration system that the White House says would "make America more competitive, raise wages for American workers, and create jobs."

"The RAISE Act ends chain migration and replaces our low-skill system with a new, points-based system for receiving a green card," Trump said. "This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy. The RAISE Act prevents new migrants and new immigrants from collecting welfare and protects U.S. workers from being displaced."

The senators added that the program is modeled on similar merit-based systems used in Canada and Australia, a point that has also been promoted by Trump.

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Some immigration experts remain skeptical, including Tamar Jacoby, the Republican president of ImmigrationWorks USA. "I'm concerned that what the Trump administration intends with a merit-based program is not to add to the high-skilled; it's to cut away everything around the high-skilled," Jacoby told HuffPost. "It's not my first concern that they're going to bring too many computer programmers. It's that they're not going to bring enough of other different kinds of workers that we need."

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