In his speech to the joint bodies of Congress on Tuesday night President Trump covered many topics, including immigration and an aspect that didn’t get much consideration during the campaign: immigration reform. Trump directly challenged the assumptions of legal immigration and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which abolished a quota system in favor of reuniting immigrant families, suggesting in its place a merit-based policy of admissions
Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky signals this is a major shift. “Going to a merit based system means we’re going not going to have taxpayers pay so much money for low-skilled immigrants and the benefits they get from the government,” he tells KTRH News. Von Spakovsky says Trump reiterated his commitment to secure the southern border and to enforce immigration laws.
Media had been overwhelmed with enthusiasm earlier in the day by speculation that Trump would propose immigration reform that might include some type of amnesty plan for illegal immigrants not convicted of a felony. Major media outlets had the story very wrong and in spite of that hype it never happened. But Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies sees it as shifting the conversation to more about jobs, “and moved away from its inordinate emphasis on family relationships, instead of basing it more on a person’s skills and education,” he says. He sees it as a major and welcome element to the conversation.
Maria Espinoza, National Director of the Remembrance Project, a group that helps families of victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens, and someone who has met President Trump in person, was impressed by his selection of guests. “This man has a hug heart, as you can see from the guests that were invited by he and Malania,” she says with enthusiasm. Espinoza says she welcomes the new conversation about immigration.