(CNSNews.com) - "Merit," the word President Trump has used in connection with immigration, "is really a condescending word," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a news conference on Thursday.
She spoke a few hours before the president was scheduled to outline "his "merit-based" immigration plan, which would give preference to well-educated people with job skills.
"Are they saying family is without merit?" Pelosi asked. "Are they saying most of the people that have ever come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit because they don't have an engineering degree?
"And certainly we want to attract the best to our country, and that includes many people from many parts of society."
Pelosi quoted former President Ronald Reagan, who talked about newcomers to the U.S. as being "the vital force of America's preeminence in the world."
"This is about our vitality," Pelosi said.
President Trump was outlining his immigration proposal on Thursday afternoon, and Pelosi said, "We'll see what values are reflected there."
"We've heard titles like 'merit,' which is non-merit," she said. "It means merit in the eyes of Donald Trump."