AP FACT CHECK: Trump comments on legal immigration in speech

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's comments on legal immigration in State of the Union speech

TRUMP: "I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally."

THE FACTS: His policy recommendations to date do not reflect this wish.

According to data from the Homeland Security Department, about 750,000 of more than 1.1 million people who obtained green cards in 2017 did so through family relations. Trump's plan called for limiting family-based green cards to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and green card holders, a dramatic cut.

Trump has said he wants to eliminate diversity visas. The government awards about 50,000 visas a year by lottery under a 1990 law that aimed to diversify the immigrant population by selecting people from underrepresented regions of the world. They are predominantly from Africa.

He has talked about switching to merit-based instead of family-based immigration and said at times that he wants to make it easier for temporary employees to work and for graduates from top colleges to stay in the country. But researchers have said the net effect of his proposals would be fewer legal immigrants.

Is the president changing course? Trump's statement was not included in his prepared text, raising the possibility it was off the cuff. But after the speech, senior press aide Hogan Gidley repeated Trump's comment, on Twitter, about wanting the highest level of legal immigration ever.

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Migration Policy Institute study: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/trump-immigration-plan-lopsided-proposal

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EDITOR'S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures