On Tuesday, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced immigration reform legislation that would restrict the number of refugees permitted into the U.S. and reduce overall immigration.
The Republican senators are teaming with the Trump Administration to unveil legislation known as the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.
The legislation would reduce by half the number of visas and green cards issued annually by the U.S.
The bill aims to build upon Trump’s executive order on immigration. It would place a cap on the number of permanent refugees allowed in the U.S. to 50,000 per year.
The report states:
The bill would prioritize immediate family members, keeping immigration preferences for spouses and unmarried minor children of citizens and green card holders but eliminating them for extended relatives like parents, adult siblings and adult children.
It would also eliminate the approximately 50,000 visas available every year through a lottery program and limit the number of green cards offered to refugees to 50,000 per year.
Sen. Cotton told reporters on Capitol Hill, “The net effect will be to cut annual immigration in half from 1 million to 500,000 green cards per year.” He added that a “generation-long surge in low-skilled immigration has hurt blue-collar wages” and is “pulling the rug out from underneath them.”
“Unless we reverse this trend, we’re going to create a near-permanent underclass for whom the American dream is always just out of reach,” he said.
Ultimately, the goal of the bill is to recalibrate the immigration system in favor of skilled workers. Lawmakers claim that those who would benefit most from this legislation are American workers with lower-skilled jobs.
The legislation would also provide a temporary visa program for elderly parents or individuals in need of caretaking, in an effort to allow citizens to more easily bring a parent into the U.S. However, the bill would not permit an elderly parent eligible for a U.S. visa to work or access any public benefits.
Within the first year that the immigration legislation is enacted, it would reduce the number of individuals granted legal status by 41 percent, then steadily rise to a 50 percent reduction by its tenth year, according to a model established by Princeton and Harvard professors.
Overall immigration would be lowered to 637,960 within the first year of implementation and to 539,958 by year 10, according to these models. This would account for a 50 percent reduction over 2015 levels, which topped out at 1,051,031.
Sen. Perdue told the Free Beacon, “We are taking action to fix some of the shortcomings in our legal immigration system. Returning to our historically normal levels of legal immigration will help improve the quality of American jobs and wages.”
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