Criticizing President Donald Trump’s proposal for “merit based”  immigration, Democratic presidential race contender Kamala Harris on Thursday invoked her background as the daughter of a South Asian immigrant, and pointed out that Asians have historically immigrated as family units. She called the president’s proposal a "short- sighted" plan that will categorize people and create hierarchies.

Trump had spoken about a system that prioritizes high-skilled workers over those who already have relatives in the country. Harris criticized the proposal and pointed out that the U.S. Constitution guarantees equality for all.

Harris said Asians have historically migrated as families, adding that ranking people based on education or skills would overlook what she called the "sibling connection."  "It is, and has always been, about family. And that was completely overlooked, and I would suggest, denied, in the way the policy was outlined today," she said.

The White House likely faces a tough fight with lawmakers on Capitol Hill over the plan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has referred to it as "dead on arrival," The Hill reported.

"Certainly we want to attract the best to our country, and that includes many people from many parts of society," Pelosi was quoted by The Hill. "So we’ll see what values are reflected there. We’ve only heard titles like merit, which is non-merit. It means merit in the eyes of Donald Trump."

kamala harris California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks at the Center for American Progress' 2014 Making Progress Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron/File Photo

Harris noted that she was the first South Asian-American senator and said, if elected, she would end federal funding for private prisons and privately- run detention centres. She noted how as California attorney general she had alerted the county sheriffs that they were not required to comply with detainer requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement,reported NDTV.

She said, “It’s about making a statement about who can do what and redefining images about who can do what and how they do it,” Associated Press reported.

While answering to questions from the audience, Harris she’s confident of winning as she has worked in local, state and federal offices and has wide experience with politics.