The Latest: Labor sec'y says balance required in immigration

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on legislation, embraced by President Donald Trump, that would change immigration to a merit-based system (all times local):

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1:25 p.m.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says replacing American workers with lower-wage foreigners is a disservice to U.S. laborers.

Acosta said that immigration is "legal and appropriate" if businesses can't fill a job, but that "so much immigration" amounts to substituting foreign workers for Americans.

He spoke with reporters Thursday at a Western Governors' Association meeting in South Dakota.

Acosta's comments come a day after President Donald Trump embraced legislation to significantly reduce legal immigration and shift the country toward a system that prioritizes merit and skills over family ties. Trump joined Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas to promote the bill, which has little traction in the Senate.

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Recent research suggests immigration has no significant long-term effect on job growth for U.S.-born workers.

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3:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is embracing legislation that would dramatically reduce legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that prioritizes merit and skills over family ties.

Trump joined with Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas on Wednesday to promote the bill, which has so far gained little traction in the Senate.

The legislation would replace the current process for obtaining legal permanent residency, or green cards, creating a skills-based point system for employment visas. The bill would also eliminate the preference for U.S. residents' extended and adult family members, while maintaining priority for their spouses and minor children.

According to projection models cited by the bill's sponsors, immigration would be slashed 41 percent in the first year.