President Trump, making a pitch for his massive infrastructure plan at a Danbury, Conn., steel mill on Tuesday, accused Democrats of making an “opaque and uninformed accusation” that Mr. Trump lacked a “plan” to address immigration, without providing any detail.
Later in the afternoon, he blasted “the lying, distorted reporting on immigration by some members of the media,” and repeated his accusation of Democrats “duping” the American people into thinking he had no plan to address immigration.
“On the wall, on a lot of other things, it’s much more – it’s not going to be part of the plan,” he said during a tour of the Canadian border, a reference to his plan to build a wall on the southern border.
But even if Democrats balked at his wall proposal, it is not clear that they would oppose any of his other proposed immigration reforms.
In his speech, he touted an immigration policy that will prioritize “highest-skilled workers” — with visa caps a priority for “export-oriented industries,” like mining, iron and steel.
He offered exemptions for foreign workers if they can’t find enough Americans to fill the jobs they want to hire. He called on Congress to reinstate the H-1B visa program for skilled workers, which, under current rules, does not allow a guaranteed number of visas to those with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.
“I am calling on members of both parties to pass legislation that puts America first,” he said. “That ensures our workers have the skills necessary to compete and win in the 21st century economy.”
In addition to calling for more visas, Mr. Trump called for a “merit-based” immigration system, which excludes those who do not have a high school degree or the equivalent. He also promoted a mandate for employers to fill their job openings with Americans first.
“The hiring of new American workers must begin with first hiring Americans,” he said.
His advocacy of “merit-based” immigration echoes proposals from both political parties over the years.
Read the full story: Democrats, Trump to clash over ‘plans’ for immigration, infrastructure