Across the Aisle: Texas Reps React to Trump's Immigration Plan

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May 17, 2019

By Justin Chermol

A day after President Trump unveiled his "merit-based" immigration plan, two Texas congressmen at the forefront of the immigration debate shared their opposing reactions to the proposal.

"He's moving to a merit-based system, and that is in part because he thinks that African countries are S-hole countries," Rep. Al Green, a Democrat representing the greater Houston area, told Cheddar in an interview Friday.

Trump's plan would prioritize immigrants that are skilled over those with family ties to the United States and favor those with advanced educations. It would also create a points system to rank green card applicants.

"We discriminate against genius," Trump said from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday. "We discriminate against brilliance. We won't anymore, once we get this passed."

Green added that Trump's "infusion of bigotry" into immigration policy was especially concerning.

"The president should not have indicated that there are S-hole countries in Africa, and then develop an immigration policy that would cut persons from Africa out of the opportunity to come to the country - the diversity visas," Green said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on the plan, saying it is "dead-on-arrival." Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) added that "to say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension."

Unlike House Democrats, Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican who represents roughly 820 miles of the southern border, sees the president's proposal as a starting point, not a polarizing overhaul.

"It's a conversation point moving forward on how we streamline immigration," Hurd told Cheddar Friday, noting, however, that the proposal fails to address temporary workers and DACA recipients. Hurd also declined to say whether he would support the proposal if it came up for a vote in the House.

For full interview click here.