The first seven months of the Trump administration have seen a dramatic series of executive actions and orders targeting the undocumented immigrant community. But now, it seems, the White House is setting its sights on an even broader target: those trying to immigrate to the United States legally.
Acording to Politico, top Trump advisers Steven Miller and Steve Bannon have been coordinating with several Republican lawmakers to effectively halve legal immigration into the U.S. within the next decade—from around one million immigrants legally entering the country currently to approximately 500,000 by 2027.
The effort is largely centered around an expansion of GOP senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue’s RAISE Act, originally introduced this past February and set to be re-submitted sometime over the summer. The act sought to limit the prioritization for family-issued visas to immediate family only, and eliminate the diversity lottery for immigration visas entirely.
“Donald Trump was the only one who saw that most Americans don’t like our current immigration system,” Cotton said when the measure was first proposed. “This is just the area of politics where I think leaders and elites are most disconnected from the people. Not just Republicans but in both parties, in business, in the media, in the academy, culture and so forth.”
While the specific content of the White House’s new anti-legal immigration legislation remains to be seen, the participation of Bannon and Miller—who were instrumental in crafting Trump’s Muslim travel ban and who have been very open about their white nationalism—is a clear sign that the administration is taking a hard line against those wanting to enter the United States.
According to Politico, the effort will likely center around a merit-based system, in which admittance to the U.S. is predicated upon things like academic standing and employment status, rather than the current process, which prioritizes the unification of families.
The push, while alarming, had, in fact, long been a feature of President Trump’s political agenda, albeit one that was largely overshadowed by his rhetoric against undocumented immigration. In January, drafts of an executive order were leaked showing that the administration was considering a revision to immigration policy that would allow it to reject—and in some cases deport—legal immigrants who utilized government subsidies.