San Diegans have mixed reaction to proposed changes to immigration system


San Diegans were divided over President Donald Trump's unveiling on Wednesday of a bill that proposed major changes to the U.S. immigration system.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Senator David Perdue, R-Georgia, would change the country's immigration system from a family-based system to a merit-based system under which hopeful immigrants would need to meet requirements such as speaking English to accumulate points to get a green card. The bill, known as the RAISE Act, would also reduce levels of legal immigration to the U.S. by more than half.

Christian Ramirez, human rights director for Alliance San Diego, called the bill misguided and extreme.

"This bill is hyperbole that is being portrayed as legislation, and it's a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars to have legislators drop a bill of this magnitude," Ramirez said by telephone. "What this bill and the support of the president does, it really creates a whole lot of obstacles for immigration reform to be an item of discussion that we would be able to address in this Congress."