US President Donald Trump has outlined plans for a new US immigration system designed to favour younger, better educated, English-speaking workers.
In an address at the White House, he proposed moving away from the current system that favours applicants with family ties to the US.
He said border security would be beefed up and a tougher line taken on asylum seekers.
Senior Democrats dismissed his ideas as “dead-on-arrival”.
They say the proposed new system fails to offer a route to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” hundreds of thousands of people brought to the US as children but who still have no legal right to remain.
He said immigrants would be “required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission”.
Criticising the current asylum process, he said: “Our nation has a proud history of affording protection to those fleeing government persecutions.
“Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims.”