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Trump inspired by Aust immigration policy

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US President Donald Trump is using Australia as a blueprint for a major and controversial overhaul of America's immigration policy that would eliminate the green card lottery.

The new proposal, which sparked a fiery White House press briefing on Wednesday where Australia was a focal point, has a points based system favouring green cards awarded to English speaking applicants who can financially support themselves.

Mr Trump said the proposed RAISE Act will "help ensure that newcomers to our wonderful country will be assimilated, will succeed, and will achieve the American dream".

"It's great to be here today to unveil legislation that would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century," Mr Trump said at a White House event.

The RAISE Act was created by studying "best practice" nations Australia and Canada.

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller told reporters the policy would limit family based migration to just spouses and minor children, rather than current rules allowing extended family members to live and work in the US.

"We are establishing a new entry system that's points based," Mr Miller said.

"Australia has a points based system.

"Canada has a points based system and what will the system look at?

"It will look at, does the applicant speak English?

"Can they support themselves and their families financially?

"Do they have a skill that will add to the US economy?

"Are they being paid a high wage?"

The RAISE Act will limit low-skilled and unskilled labour entering the US and "rewards education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative".

The press briefing turned volatile when CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, the son of a non-English speaking Cuban immigrant father, queried the importance of applicants being proficient in English.

"Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?" Mr Acosta, a vocal critic of the Trump White House, asked Mr Miller.

Mr Miller fired back.

"I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English," Mr Miller said during the heated exchange.

"It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.


"This is an amazing moment that you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world."

© AAP 2017
Image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

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