GOP pollster says economic needs should be emphasized over family contacts with immigrants

Republican pollster Ed Goeas on Wednesday said that a first step in fixing the U.S. immigration system is to work to bring more immigrants to the U.S. based on economic needs and not on family contacts. 

"One of them quite frankly is to put more of an emphasis on economic needs of the people coming in rather than family connections," Goeas, president and CEO of the Tarrence Group, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking," referring to ideas to fix the U.S. immigration system. 

"One of the problems we have today is that 83 percent of all of our immigration, legal immigration in this country, is based on family contacts, and that is pushing aside those who perhaps want to come to this country for our economics needs as a country," he continued.

"Until we get the balance more to economic needs, and not just solely family, I think we're not going to fix the system," he said. 

Goeas's comments come as the immigration debate in the U.S. heats up ahead of a potential, partial government shutdown. 

Lawmakers face a Dec. 21 deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, but Republicans and Democrats have not been able to reach a compromise on how much money to put toward President Trump's proposed border wall. 

Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border fencing and barriers, which is less than Trump's request of $5 billion.

The president has threatened a government shutdown if he does not get the amount of funding he is requesting.

— Julia Manchester