President Donald Trump wants to change United States immigration policy by tying admission to job skills.

    In his recent speech to Congress, Trump said changing the way America decides who can immigrate can help the economy.

    "It's a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon."

    Trump said such a system is used successfully in Canada and Australia. Basing immigration on job skills is sometimes called a "merit-based" system. Under the current system, immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans by agreeing to work for lower pay, he said.

    It would be a major change in U.S. policy, which now gives a preference to spouses, children and parents of American citizens. In 2014, family-based immigrants made up 64 percent of all new legal permanent residents in the United States, reports the Migration Policy Institute.

    Marie Price, an immigration expert at George Washington University, said if the U.S. moves to a merit-based immigration system, it needs to do so carefully.
    乔治华盛顿大学的移民专家玛丽·普莱斯(Marie Price)表示,如果美国转向“选优”移民制度,就得谨慎行事。

    She noted that in Canada admission is based largely on a point system giving higher scores to people with special skills and advanced degrees. But she said many of those admitted ended up driving taxis or delivering food because they could not find jobs to meet their education skills. In some cases, professional licenses from other countries were not accepted in Canada.

    Since then, the point system has been changed so that people who can show they have job offers in Canada are given preference, said Sharyn Aiken of Queens University Law School in Canada. In addition, Canada looks at who can fill a range of jobs for which there are shortages of workers – such as child care, not just those requiring advanced college degrees, Aiken said.
    加拿大皇后大学法学院的莎琳·艾肯(Sharyn Aiken)表示,自那时起,积分制度已经做出修改,能够提供加拿大聘任书的人士获得了优待。此外,加拿大还考察谁能填补一些人员短缺的工作岗位,例如儿童保育,而不仅仅是那些需要大学高等学位的岗位。

    A new U.S. immigration bill

    Senator Tom Cotton is a Republican from Arkansas. He has proposed a bill that would move the United States to the merit-based system proposed by Trump. His proposal would also reduce legal immigration by half -- from about one million a year to about 500,000.
    参议员汤姆·科顿(Tom Cotton)是来自阿肯色州的共和党人。他提出了一项将会把美国转向川普提出的“选优”机制的法案。他的提案还会让合法移民减半,从每年100万人减少为50万人左右。

    Under Cotton's bill, people with legal status in the U.S. could continue to get a preference for their children and spouses. But their parents will not get a preference.

    Cotton said many Americans believe the current immigration system helps businesses and not people. "These Americans see cheap immigrant labor as a way to enrich the wealthy while creating a near permanent underclass for whom the American dream is always just out of reach," he said.

    William Stock is president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
    威廉·斯多克(William Stock)是美国移民律师协会的主席。

    He disputes Cotton's argument that the U.S. is allowing too many immigrants into the United States. Stock said the U.S. admits about one million legal immigrants a year, a lower percentage of America's population than at any time in history.

    Stock also said it would be unfair to change to a merit based system for new immigrants without allowing those who have already applied for family members. He said some have been waiting 15 years or longer for a decision on their relatives.

    Stock added people calling for a merit-based immigration system should know that a promise of better wages in America will be not enough to get people to fill job openings in America. Many people will not want to move to the United States without their families -- making continuation of a family preference system important, he said.

    Trump has also followed through with his campaign promises of extreme vetting for immigrants and of building a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.