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The President's Weekly Address

December 16, 2017

My fellow Americans, this week I signed the National Defense Authorization Act, a historic step forward to rebuild our military. Now, it is critical for Congress to pass the clean Government appropriations bill that fully funds our military needs. We must not play politics with our troops; we should pass a clean funding bill and leave the politics aside. We must protect our Nation.

I'd also like to take a moment today to discuss our immigration system and how we can reform it to make it work for everyday Americans. Our current immigration system helps special interests, but hurts American workers, taxpayers, and national security.

For decades now, U.S. immigration rules have been based on an outdated system known as chain migration. Under chain migration, foreign nationals can come to the United States and bring in unlimited numbers of foreign relatives. A single immigrant can begin a chain that could ultimately bring in dozens of increasingly distant relations.

Because these individuals are admitted solely on the basis of family ties—not skill or not merit—most of this immigration is lower skilled, putting great strain on Federal welfare. And because there is no real selection criteria, the current system is totally incompatible with national security.

This week, a terrorist exploded a pipe bomb on a busy subway passage during rush hour in New York City, injuring innocent Americans. This individual arrived through chain migration. In October, another terrorist drove a truck into pedestrians and cyclists in New York City, killing 8 people and wounding many others. That individual came through a visa lottery.

It is time to create a merit-based immigration system that makes sense for a modern economy, selecting new arrivals based on their ability to support themselves financially and to make positive contributions to U.S. society. Base it on love of our country. We want people that come in that can love our country.

This process begins with Congress passing a bill to end chain migration and also end the visa lottery. I have called on Congress to do exactly that. Ending chain migration and also ending the visa lottery will allow us to have commonsense immigration rules that promote assimilation and wage growth. It also promotes, most importantly, safety. It'll help Americans, both old and new, to thrive, flourish, and prosper.

Thank you, and God bless America.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 1:45 p.m. on December 14 in the Blue Room at the White House. In the address, the President referred to Akayed Ullah, suspect in the bombing of a passageway between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey bus terminal and Times Square subway station in New York City on December 11; and Sayfullo Saipov, suspect in the vehicular terrorist attack on the bike path along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan.

Donald J. Trump, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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