President Donald Trump is still determined to increase restrictions on people moving to the US to live and work but has offered help to immigrants who were brought to the country illegally.

If his plans outlined in his State of the Nation speech to end chain immigration, where family members are sponsored to move to the US, and to introduce a merit based visa system are agreed it would be the biggest change to immigration for decades.

Border Wall

As a concession to critics of his hard line immigration stance, Trump said there would be an opportunity for an estimated 1.8 million current illegal immigrants who arrived with their parents to be given citizenship.

But in return he wants funding for a wall along the Mexican border, limits on family members who can be sponsored for visas and an end to the currently visa lottery system. He has a lot of support for a merit based system like those used in Australia and Canada.

The proposal would limit family sponsorship to spouses and minor children, eliminating a number of existing categories including adult children, both married and unmarried, parents of adult US citizens and siblings of adult US citizens.

Experts have estimated that cutting these categories would reduce the roughly one million green cards given out yearly by 25% to 50%. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions backs a hard line stance on immigration. He has spoken out in recent days about his backing for wide ranging immigration reforms and restrictions.

Sessions is a supporter of Trump’s wall along the Mexican border and he has also been outspoken about wanting to end family members automatically being able to move to the US and a merit based immigration system.

‘For a permanent fix to our immigration laws, Congress needs to act. The American people have known for more than 30 years that our immigration system is broken. It is time to end the lawlessness and create a system that serves the national interest,’ Sessions said in a speech.

He believes that a merit based immigration system would still attract the ‘best and the brightest’ talent to the United States and bringing in more people with education and skills would improve the economy.