Cotton: Immigration system 'does not serve the interests of American citizens'

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. told Fox News Tuesday that his proposed legislation to halve the number of green cards issued to legal immigrats was "in keeping with historic norms" and "very generous."


"What I simply think we need to do is get a legal immigration system that works for American workers," Cotton told Martha MacCallum on "The First 100 Days." "Over the last several decades, we’ve seen wages stagnate for blue collar workers. At the same time, we’ve had record high numbers of unskilled and low-skilled immigration. I think those two things are directly connected."

Cotton, who has been among President Donald Trump's most loyal supporters on Capitol Hill, said that Trump's victory in last year's presidential election was a signal from the American people to lawmakers to fix the country's immigration system.

"But the single issue on which he campaigned above all others and set himself apart was immigration and refocusing our immigration system on working Americans," he said.

The proposed legislation would also end the Diversity Visa Lottery, which Cotton called "outdated," as well as cut down on the number of refugees admitted to the U.S.

"Only about one in 15 immigrants coming in today is coming in because they have demonstrated skills or because they fill a demonstrated economic need," Cotton said. "That means that they directly compete with high school graduates and people that don’t have a high school degree. Of course, that means there are going to be fewer jobs for those American citizens and lower wages."