Washington: US President Donald Trump's merit-based immigration policy is designed to serve interests of national security, a top official has said.
Ed O'Callaghan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, made the remarks during a White House news conference on Wednesday about a recent report of the Department of Justice linking immigration and terrorism.
The report said that three out of every four persons convicted of terrorism-related charges in the US over the past decade and a half were foreign-born.
O'Callaghan said the data reflects how individuals seeking to "harm" the US "exploit" the current immigration policy for their benefit.
Trump's merit-based immigration policy would put a check on such individuals through enhanced vetting, he said.
"President Trump’s immigration policy is designed to serve the interests of national security. Enhanced vetting and screening and continuing screening promote the discovery of information that would help immigration and law enforcement authorities identify foreigners who may pose national security threats to the American people," said O'Callaghan.
"Rather than basing admission decisions on programmes that lack accountability, like DV lotteries and family chain migration, adopting a merit-based system rewards skills and qualities that include, but are not limited to, education, English language proficiency or fluency, and/or job skills," he said.
The report reveals that at least 549 individuals were convicted of international terrorism-related charges in US federal courts between 11 September, 2001, and 31 December, 2016.
An analysis conducted by DHS determined that approximately 73 percent (402 of these 549 individuals) were foreign-born.
Updated Date: Jan 18, 2018 08:09 AM