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Trump: 'We Discriminate Against Genius' with Our Immigration System

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said the U.S. government discriminates "against genius" and "brilliance” with its immigration system.

Trump also said that 66 percent of legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S. "on the basis of random chance" rather than merit or skill, arguing that "random selection is contrary to American values and blocks out many qualified potential immigrants from around the world who have much to contribute."

"You wouldn't believe how many countries, like Canada, create a clear path for top talent. America does not. Under the senseless rules of the current system, we're not able to give preference to a doctor, a researcher, a student who graduated number one in his class from the finest colleges in the world -- anybody," Trump said during a speech about his immigration proposal at the White House in the Rose Garden on Thursday.

"We're not able to take care of it. We're not able to make those incredible breakthroughs. If somebody graduates top of their class from the best college, 'sorry, go back to your country.' We want to keep them here," he added.

Trump lamented that "companies are moving offices to other countries because our immigration rules prevent them from retaining highly skilled and even, if I might, totally brilliant people."

"We discriminate against genius. We discriminate against brilliance. We won't anymore, once we get this passed. And we hope to get it passed as soon as possible," Trump told guests at the White House, which included cabinet officials and many Republican members of Congress. "Some of the most skilled students at our world-class universities are going back home because they have no relatives to sponsor them here in the United States and that's the only way. We want these exceptional students and workers to stay, and flourish, and thrive in America."