Trump administration announces proposal to shift focus to 'merit-based workers'

Immigration attorney Frances Arroyo reacts to President Trump's newly-announced immigration plan and the impact it would have on families.
9:02 | 05/16/19

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Transcript for Trump administration announces proposal to shift focus to 'merit-based workers'
But both of you. I want the White House yesterday for a briefing on the president's immigration plan a which he just unveiled in them Rose Garden a short time ago tickle us. Priority will also be given to higher wage workers ensuring we never undercut. American labor. To protect benefits for American citizens. Immigrants must be financially. Self sufficient. Finally. To promote integration. Assimilation. And national unity. Future immigrants will be required to learn English. And to pass a civics exam. Prior. To admission. OK so let's break down the plan and put it up for everybody to see you don't get into some of the details the president says. This plan will keep the overall number of legal. Immigrants to this country exactly the same one point one million green cards given out each year I but he says the distribution of those green cards will now. And be done through a what if they're calling it a point system based on workers' skills. Based on the ability to speak English what they're calling patriotic assimilation. It does not address the dreamers of course those young undocumented immigrants that are in this country it also talks about tightening up border security which we are you know. Jordan Phelps the big headline out of this whole process is that the White House wants to shift. At the composition of those coming into the country got on a more mirrored peace plan as opposed to family ties which the current focus. Yet that's the big headline here data and and this is really the president's way to refrain this issue the White House is concerned that the president is always cast. Indian native white on this issue and they're trying to show what he's Fortier rather than haven't always framed as what he's. Now it's from the Justice Department's. Perspective which you have been following closely on the administration facing that big challenge down the southern border. With processing a lot of these asylum claims coming into the United States part of this plan would also try to overhaul the asylum system as well. In this is definitely a shift because I think earlier in the week we were aware aren't saying was is an asylum was not largely going to be addressed in this plan pulled performed by the president I think anticipating that. That criticism though come out the president has said that he wants. Instead more of an expedited way to deal with those do those Central American migrants that are coming up to the southern border that is creating. That crisis on our border right now and an expedited way to handle those micro. On the front end we understand yesterday from this briefing at the White House rather than on the back end it could as it currently works if you come in the United States you're given. A court date and basically released to show up a court in some cases the backlog of cases. That date could be two years from the time you enter the country the president's team yesterday told us. They want to come up with a plan to adjudicate these things much more quickly in the front and get people's cases resolved. The fine print on. He has not yet been released we haven't seen the details up but let's talk about the impact of this would have. Have on families and on immigrants seeking to come to the United States legally. With an immigration attorney who helps those applying to become citizens in green card holders go through that process France's surreal. I joins us from California Francis great to see you. So one of the headlines out of this the Jordan was worth mentioning was the president is proposing. Shifting more focused towards there was merit based workers right now it's all about 12% a green card holders. They want to make it about 50%. Words what's your reaction to that proposed. Well and you complete overhaul how the immigration and current works. Is a it's true. Employment. Panel. Some. Basis and that's it doesn't wait on the bases and out. What does that into that category of skill on and point. And adamant. That basis. So it would eliminate for example. Parents shall over aren't. His conditioning siblings and or Disney caring. So it sends a wave of what's called the bullets and added. What it doesn't eliminate. The immigration law essentially turns into the east Cobb. Karen bass really don't I'm. Acted. Who added are all very how that's going up or you aren't quite. So let me print press conference. Here that he and opera are all. And. And Tom posture the president's former Homeland Security advisor and an ABC news contributor. I has been part of those meetings he joins us now on the phone Thom. I think you for joining us I want to get your reaction it's picking up where Francis just left off to some of the criticism the president. Is already facing he's being called a migrant hypocrite. From immigration groups because as you know so many of his family members here is mother and father in law for example. Receive green cards because of their family ties. Well I applaud the president for and I understand critic they're gonna jump on him for a lottery to include. Those steep hill that we don't yet know what to get a conversation started about reforming our immigration system requires. Start with drug principal. An answer those detailed in a way that accommodate. Both sides of this debate politically and all those different concern that we have in our economy so I believe the president's doing something positive here. And the contract city proposal doesn't have all the deep don't yet flushed out against our current system. In a way that makes him in some way vulnerable to criticism is just a little bit unfair. However answer that question about his gambling. We are moving our country remember history of the wood work from a system that was open and permits this. To assist in the 1920s it was based on the immigrant natural order didn't. Good system in the sixties does that that's racist or discriminate or is discriminatory and somewhere there papers Stanley preferences. And now to get into our country safe blow up are the 1965. You have to have a family members here or you have to present some specified skill that will bring you here under a desk worker program that there. That is a very random way and very random. Justification for entry into the inner city if you don't have a family member you're good luck you're not gonna this series are becoming illegally and establish an anchor. That's typical for people to understand that the move the conversation. Into a new system that's based on the needs of our economy. In the New York or her current reports and open to all nationalities. It's probably a good move to put people criticizing it they're probably getting a little bit ahead of them. Tom Bonser thank you Alex you're at the briefing yesterday with White House officials they were making that case that a lot of western countries European countries actually have much higher proportions of their legal. Direct foreign residents in the country are are based on skill not so much family they're trying to model actually Canada United Kingdom and other. Yeah and they certainly wanted to take the focus off of what we've recently heard that this is more policy based on an internal argument and the White House and they wanted to say. Look at what other countries are doing that actually makes sense to them rather then this is an argument between. No the national side of the White House and Stephen Miller and people like Jerry commissioners kind of pushed for more Democrat friendly type immigration comprehensive immigration. For hope the speaker and elements are during the speaker of the house just coming in right now has also made some news on the president's plan. I'll lashing out at president front for what you just unveiled Nicholas. But I want to just say something about the word they use marriage is really condescending word of the same family is without merit. I think Shane looked at people have a college the United States. In the history of our country are without merit if they don't have an engineering and he certainly didn't want to attract the best. And a country that to our country and that includes many people. Part of society we have to do and way to secure their border has a path to citizenship. Six the value of the family to us it has certain principles that we would agree to. Yet Nancy Pelosi there kind of shows you that whatever the policy debate we might be having. This politically isn't going to go anywhere on Capitol Hill a lot of members of congress RD essentially colonists dead on arrival that White House even making clear that there really just 1990 Republicans here. There is no serious legislative proposal around. This broad set of principles right now so we're probably not gonna see anything past yeah president's ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in cannot said just a few hours ago that this is not. Intended to become law that certainly starting point for conversation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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