Donald Trump gave a nod to Australia's immigration system in his first major address to Congress

Screenshot: PBS NewsHour/ Twitter.

US president Donald Trump delivered his first major address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday (AEDT).

His speech focused on the policy objectives that he hopes to accomplish over the next year, including international trade, military, and the economy.

He also touched on his mission to introduce “real and positive immigration reform”, pointing to Australia’s success with it’s merit-based system.

“Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others –- have a merit-based immigration system,” he said.

“It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.

“Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families –- including immigrant families –- enter the middle class.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.

“If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.”

Trump also discussed his controversial plans to erect a border wall.

“By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed –- but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders,” he said.

“For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.”

Vice has his speech in full here.

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