Washington: President Donald Trump has said he wants immigrants to come to the US legally and through a system based on merit so that they can enjoy safety and liberty, insisting that Americans cannot surrender operational control over the nation’s borders to foreign cartels.

Trump’s remarks came on Friday as he defended his plan for a wall along the US-Mexico border after reaching a deal with congressional leaders Friday to reopen the government for three weeks despite getting no new funding for the structure.

“As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the defence of our great country. We cannot surrender operational control over the nation’s borders to foreign cartels, traffickers, and smugglers. We want future Americans to come to our country legally and through a system based on merit,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Trump said the he needs people to come to the country.

“We have great companies moving back into the United States. There are more people working today in the United States than have ever worked in our country,” he said.

“We need people to come in to help us — the farms, and with all of these great companies that are moving back. Finally, they’re moving back,’ he said, adding that he wants them to enjoy the blessings of safety and liberty, and the rule of law.

“We cannot protect and deliver these blessings without a strong and secure border,” Trump said.

Early this month, Trump has said that he wants to bring in changes in the H-1B visa systems so that holders of these visas can stay in the country and accelerate their path to citizenship.

H1-B visas are temporary work permits issued to highly-educated immigrants who work in specialised fields, often in technology. These visas are the most sought after by Indian IT professionals.

Trump during his presidential campaign had said that every single undocumented immigrant “have to go”.