Trump touts ‘historic’ bill to curb legal immigration

President Trump on Friday touted newly unveiled GOP legislation aimed at curbing legal immigration as "historic," in an effort to promote the controversial measure.

"Just this week, we announced a historic immigration bill to create a merit-based Green Card system that ends the abuse of our welfare system, stops chain migration, and protects our workers and our economy," the president said in his weekly address.

Trump unveiled the legislation – which fulfills a key campaign promise – during an event at the White House this week with GOP Sens. Tom CottonTom CottonOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP senator: CBO moving the goalposts on ObamaCare mandate Cruz: It’s a mistake for House bill to raise taxes MORE (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.).

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Proponents said the bill would move the U.S. to a "merit-based" immigration system and away from the current model, which is based on family ties. 

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences given to extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens seeking green cards, as well as put an end to the State Department's Diversity visa lottery. The legislation also gives a preference to English speaking immigrants. 

The White House's endorsement of the legislation marked a watershed moment for groups that have been pushing the idea for years, though the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate where it's expected to get pushback from Democrats and some Republicans who oppose stricter limits on legal immigration.