United States President Donald Trump on Saturday said he wants only people with merit to enter the country. “I am very tough at the borders,” Trump told reporters at the White House, according to The Strait Times. “We have been very tough at the borders. People have to come into our country legally, not illegally. Legally. And I want them to come in on merit.”

The US president further said: “What I want is merit. I want a lot of people to come in. We have great car companies entering our country again. This hasn’t happened for 35 years. We have companies like Foxconn going to Wisconsin with a massive, massive plant. We need people coming in, but we want them to come in on merit. We want people that are going to help us. It’s very important.”


Opposing chain migration, Trump said, “If that’s a bad policy, then guess what, a lot of bad things are going to happen. But a lot of people agree with me. I would say a majority of our country agrees. They don’t want criminals coming into our country.”

Trump said that his administration is considering a new family separation policy at the US-Mexico border. On Friday, a report in The Washington Post said the White House was considering plans to separate parents and children at the border, in a bid to decrease the numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the US. The government could detain such families for up to 20 days, before giving the parents a choice to either stay in detention with their children, or allow the children to be taken to a government shelter while other relatives seek custody.

“We’re looking at everything that you could look at when it comes to illegal immigration,” Trump said on Saturday, according to The Washington Post. “If they feel there will be separation, they won’t come.”

Trump’s immigration policy

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy that allows authorities to file criminal charges against undocumented immigrants. This had led to nearly 2,000 children being separated from their parents in just six weeks. The Trump administration was criticised for its policy of separating children from their families when they are caught entering the United States without documentation. Investigative news website ProPublica had put out an audio recording of immigrant children from Central America crying inconsolably for their parents at a detention centre on the US-Mexico border.

In June, Trump signed an executive order to keep families who illegally cross the southern border of the US together as they await immigration proceedings.