Nancy Pelosi Says Donald Trump's Immigration Plan Is 'Dead on Arrival'

Not long after President Donald Trump delivered his new immigration plan from the Rose Garden at the White House, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said it was "not a serious proposal" and would be "dead on arrival" when presented to Congress.

The president's plan would channel more money toward beefing up border security and overhaul how the country accepts asylum claims. It would also end the current visa lottery and replace it with a focus on highly skilled immigrants and "merit," rather than on applicants with existing family ties in the U.S.

Pelosi released a statement that said the president's plan merely reflects previous policies already nixed by Congress.

"The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: Greenlighting the Administration's barbaric family detention policies; reviving the president's ineffective and wasteful wall; completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections," Pelosi said. "To say that this plan's application criteria are 'merit-based' is the height of condescension." (DACA recipients are often called Dreamers, after the DREAM Act—Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors—which offered many of the same protections but never passed Congress.)

Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said Trump continues to express a desire to keep families apart and is now selling "false stereotypes about immigrants from certain parts of the world."

"This new proposal is a non-starter and another example of how this President continues to base his immigration policies on xenophobic and false stereotypes about immigrants from certain parts of the world," Hoyer said in this Fox News report. "If we close ourselves off from the world, shut ourselves in with walls and closed minds, we do so at our own peril and at the expense of the better future we forfeit."

Hoyer continued, "Now, we see this administration attempting to prevent those already here from sponsoring their loved ones for immigration, an exclusionary practice that does not comport with Americans' values about families and community."

Trump outlined the points-based system for highly skilled workers to enter the country. Points would be earned based on age, education level, English-speaking proficiency and whether a good-paying job offer awaits the applicant.

"Currently 66 percent of legal immigrants come here based on random chance, they're admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States, and it doesn't really matter who that relative is," Trump said. "We discriminate against genius. We discriminate against brilliance. We won't anymore once we get this passed."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi's remarks when he dismissed the plan before it was even announced, according to Fox News.

"It repackages the same partisan, radical anti-immigrant policies that the administration has pushed for the two years—all of which have struggled to earn even a simple majority in the Senate let alone 60 votes," Schumer said.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference May 16, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images