Several evangelical leaders have praised President Trump’s proposal for a merit-based immigration system, while some are warning that it could potentially punish immigrant families who have followed the letter of the law in their quest for reunification.
In the White House Rose Garden Thursday, Trump detailed a broad proposal to reform what many on both sides of the political aisle have called a “broken” immigration system.
The proposal, which has yet to be released in legislation form, would “fully” secure the U.S. Southern border and update the legal immigration system to what the administration calls a “competitive, merit-based system.”
The White House announced in an outline of the proposal that Trump aims to not only secure the border, but also “protect American wages,” “attract the brightest talent,” “prioritize immediate families,” strengthen the American workforce and preserve humanitarian values.
The White House said that about 70 percent of the immigrants that come to the U.S. today are admitted based on family relationships or through a visa lottery. Trump said the proposal would replace the existing green card categories with a new visa called the “Build America” visa.
Trump added the goal is to create an “easy-to-navigate” points-based system. The president explained that immigrants would be awarded points for being “a younger worker” in the sense that they “will contribute more to our social safety net.”
According to Trump, immigrants will be required to learn English in order to promote “integration, assimilation, and national unity.”
“You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs,” Trump said.
The proposal is supported by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, an influential conservative evangelical grassroots advocacy organization.
In a statement, the organization said the proposal would replace the “morally discredited immigration system with a pro-family policy that provides priority for the issuance of green cards for spouses and children of legal residents who have obeyed the law and played by the rules.”
“The current system punishes families who legally come to the United States while rewarding those who break the law,” Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed, who served on the Trump campaign’s evangelical advisory board, said in a statement.
“President Trump’s plan is a bold stroke that if enacted, will strengthen the family and the U.S. economy. We urge Congress to put partisanship aside and act swiftly to pass this plan.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith