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Trump is pushing out green cards for non-citizens

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump suggested in a podcast released Thursday that noncitizens in the U.S. should “automatically” receive a green card upon graduation.

“What I want to do and what I’m going to do is for you to graduate from a university. I think you should automatically get a green card as part of your degree to stay in this country,” Trump said. “And that goes for junior colleges too.”

Trump made similar comments during his 2016 campaign, only to restrict legal migration while in office.

Trump responded on the podcast to a comment from one of the hosts, who said, “We need highly skilled workers in this country.” Another chimed in, noting that three of the four hosts are immigrants.

“Can you please promise us that you will give us more opportunities to import the world’s best and brightest to America?” one host asked, prompting Trump’s green card response.

Trump said he promised, adding that it was “so sad when we lose people from Harvard, from MIT, from the greatest schools, and from smaller schools that are also phenomenal schools.”

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The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on its position.

Moments earlier, Trump had repeated his frequent baseless claim that migrants crossing the southern U.S. border are coming from prisons, mental institutions and insane asylums. He also claimed without evidence that “terrorists are entering our country at levels we have never seen before.”

During a 2016 Republican primary debate, Trump said that “we need highly skilled people in this country” when asked about visas for highly skilled workers.

“They’re going to Harvard. They go to Stanford. They’re going to Wharton. Once they’re done, they’ll be pushed out,” Trump said in March 2016. “They want to stay in this country. They desperately want to stay here. To that end, we absolutely must be able to retain the brainpower in this country.”

However, visa denials and extensions increased during Trump’s time in the Oval Office, making it more difficult for some non-citizens to stay in the US.

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In 2019, Trump created a merit-based legal immigration system to prioritize highly skilled migrants. But in 2020, he also signed an executive order that froze new visas for foreign workers.

As he campaigns for another term, Trump often makes anti-migrant rhetoric the centerpiece of his campaign speeches.

Trump has compared migrants to Hannibal Lecter from the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. He has claimed that migrants coming to the US are “poisoning the blood of our country,” rhetoric the Biden campaign has likened to that of Adolf Hitler. Last month he claimed without evidence that migrants carry “highly contagious diseases.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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