Harris blasts Trump's immigration plan: We cannot create 'hierarchies among immigrants'

Harris blasts Trump's immigration plan: We cannot create 'hierarchies among immigrants'
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCastro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Harris leads California Democrats in condemning HUD immigrant housing policy Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution MORE (Calif.) took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE's new immigration proposal that would prioritize high-skilled immigrants over other applicants, telling voters that the plan would create "hierarchies" of immigrants seeking to become American citizens.

Speaking Thursday in Las Vegas before an Asian American group, Harris, the daughter of a South Asian immigrant, said Trump's plan would create unacceptable levels of inequality among applicants who seek U.S. citizenship and would deny those seeking better lives from coming to the U.S., according to CNN.

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"We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants. The beauty of the tradition of our country has been to say, when you walk through the door, you are equal," Harris said.

"We spoke those words in 1776, 'we are all equal' and should be treated that way. Not, oh well, if you come from this place, you might only have a certain number of points, and if you come from that place you might have a different number of points," she added, calling Trump's proposal "shortsighted."

Her comments come as the White House gears up for a likely fight with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks MORE (D-Calif.) referred to the plan as dead on arrival this week.

“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," the House leader said in a statement. “To say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension.”

Democrats in particular have homed in on the plan's measure to reduce focus on family connections for immigrants seeking visas as unsupportable.

“It is really a condescending word. They’re saying family is without merit?," Pelosi said Thursday. 

"Certainly we want to attract the best to our country, and that includes many people from many parts of society. So we’ll see what values are reflected there. We’ve only heard titles like merit, which is non-merit. It means merit in the eyes of Donald Trump," she added.