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Plus, if they can get the bill on the floor, doubtless a bunch of pro-immigration Republicans like Jeff Flake will join with Democrats in opposing it, giving Trump and Steve Bannon new ammo against the "globalist" GOP establishment.

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce a proposed law to reduce legal immigration with two Republican senators Wednesday at the White House.

The RAISE Act prioritizes immediate family members of United States residents, including spouses and minor children, but ends preferences for extended family members and adult children. He added that the legislation is meant to favor green-card applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves, and demonstrate their skills, which he said would "reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions".

Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, for instance, immediately came out against the bill and said it would be "devastating to our state's economy which relies on this immigrant workforce".

According to ABC News, the bill will be aimed at cutting legal immigration to the country.

Trump's prepared speeches and policy papers often reflected their views: His campaign proposed a pause on issuing H-1B worker visas and Trump pledged in a speech to return overall immigration to "historical norms", which some observers saw as a code for a significant decrease.

"This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy", Trump said Wednesday at the White House alongside Cotton and Perdue.

Cotton and Perdue's bill, however, has already been widely praised by anti-immigration groups, including NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). And the bill caps refugee levels at 50,000 per year.

The over-arching goal for the Cotton-Perdue bill, the official said, is to install a system where immigrants are allowed into the country based on their skills and contributions, as opposed to familial connections or a lottery.

Framing the bill as a means to cut legal immigration rather than merely replace lower-skilled immigrants with higher-skilled ones will make Schumer's job easier. "Second, it cleans up our tangle of employment-based immigration categories by creating a streamlined points system designed to select exceptional talents". They say the legislation would disproportionately affect immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, and African and Caribbean countries.

"As a candidate I campaigned on creating a merit-based system that benefits American workers and taxpayers", he said.

"The bottom line is to cut immigration by half a million people, legal immigration, doesn't make much sense", said Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of NY, who called it a "nonstarter". "This is different than illegal immigration".