WASHINGTON: The Trump administration wants to admit immigrants who have skills, talent and can speak English, a top official has said, giving insight into the proposed merit-based system that may benefit individuals from countries like India.
President Donald Trump has been pushing for the merit- based immigration system to reduce overall immigration to the US.
A merit-based immigration system, the Trump administration feels would admit the best and the brightest around the world while making it harder for people to come to the country illegally.
The president also wants to scrap diversity lottery visa and chain migration to reform the current system.
"..And so, our position, is that a system that prioritise individuals based on their individual skills and merit will certainly produce better results than the system we have now," the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
"We want to bring in individuals, wherever they may be from, who love this country, who love its people, who have skills, who have talent, who have -- who speak English, who are committed to supporting our values and our very way of life," said the official.
Such individuals could be from any part of the world given that they fulfil the requirements, the official said.
If such a policy is developed and implemented, it could benefit individuals from countries like India, the majority of whom meet the criterion.
The Trump administration wants to reform the immigration system to serve the US' national interest, the official said.
The official said some of the existing programmes for immigrants ignored such requirements which are important for individuals to succeed in the US.
"So, what we have with the Diversity Lottery Program or through chain migration is that in these cases there are identified examples of individuals who were not selected to come to the US based on their love of this country, skills, merit, and individual attributes that will lead them to their success," the official said.
"We would like to admit individuals from all backgrounds or any place in the world, based on their own individual merit and their likelihood of success, into the US," the official said.
The admission of any foreign national who goes on to commit a terrorism-related offense or who conspires to support terrorists is simply an unacceptable outcome for the US, no matter what, the official said.
"Our goal is to eliminate terrorism in all of its forms, wherever it may emanate from," the official said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the president is pushing for a merit-based system irrespective of the country, religion and ethnicity of an applicant.
"He wants immigrants to come in from everywhere, but he wants to do that through a merit-based system," said Sanders.
"By definition a merit based system is colour blind. It's not basing it on any of that criteria.It's not based on race, religion or country of origin. It's actually based on the merits of whether or not this person's going to be contributing to society," she said in response to a question.
Sanders said it was a "much more fair system" and the one supported and voted by Democrats "just years ago".
The White House said the current immigration system jeopardises the US' national security, reiterating its call to end the chain migration and visa lottery system.
"By failing to impose meaningful selection criteria, such as skills or likelihood to assimilate, our current family- based system is incompatible with national security, the White House said.
The remarks came soon after the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security released a new report showing three out of every four convicted terrorists entered the US through the current immigration system.