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Trump announces plan to overhaul legal immigration with emphasis on ‘merit and skill’

President Trump sought to retake the reins of the immigration debate Thursday by announcing a bold plan to refashion legal immigration from its heavy reliance on family ties into a points-based system that would boost those with preferred skills.

Mr. Trump said the overall level of legal immigration would remain the same, at about 1.1 million people per year, but that the U.S. should do more to pick newcomers who would boost the economy rather than rely on migrants to pick themselves based on which relatives are already in the country.

Gone was the stiff rhetoric of the 2016 campaign, when candidate Trump warned of an “influx of foreign workers” and proposed a “pause” on job-based immigration. Instead, Mr. Trump talked of open doors and a nation of immigrants, though he said it matters how they get into the U.S.

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