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Noah Smith

Trump's Immigration Plan Is Half-Right, Half-Wrong

Admitting newcomers based on their skills is smart; cutting their numbers in half is a mistake.
An immigrant. He started Intel. We need more like him.

An immigrant. He started Intel. We need more like him.

Photographer: Anne Knudsen/Getty Images

President Donald Trump just endorsed a plan to change the way the U.S. immigration system operates. Half of the plan is very good. The other half is bad and counterproductive.

The plan, known as the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, was developed by Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. It would do two things. First, it would introduce a merit-based system that would admit immigrants according to their education level, language skills and professional qualifications, similar to what Canada and Australia use. Second, it would cut the total amount of legal immigration in half, reducing immigration based on family reunification to immediate family members only, and ending the lottery system for green-card permanent residence permits.