President Donald Trump unveiled his merit-based immigration reform program Wednesday, designed to put the needs of millions of Americans ahead of those of non-citizens. Along with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Trump introduced the RAISE Act.
According to the president, RAISE “will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”
He said the legislation is a demonstration of compassion for “struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first, and that puts America first.”
The president said that under the current system, American workers are under substantial pressure.
Among those hit the hardest … are minority workers competing for jobs against brand new arrivals. It has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, to our workers … [this RAISE act] will give Americans a pay raise by reducing immigration… [and] it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens.
The bill was drafted by Sens. Perdue and Cotton, and is formally titled the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act.” In a press release, the senators listed the following benefits of the RAISE Act:
- Establish a Skills-Based Points System. The RAISE Act would replace the current, permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.
- Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.
- Eliminate the Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Lottery is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and does not even promote diversity. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.
- Place a Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees. The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average.
Democrats are expected to oppose the immigration reform, as will some business groups that believe it would raise wages. As the Democrats feel pressured to fight the act, research indicates there is strong public support for cutting the inflow of immigrants and temporary foreign workers.
The inflow of foreigners who gobble up American jobs is reported to be nearly 4 million people each year, negatively impacting the 150 million Americans in the workforce.
President Trump said the nation’s immigration system “should help American workers to achieve a pay raise and have a higher standard of living.”
With the RAISE Act, economic growth would improve, according to Cotton, and America may be more competitive.
“Our current system simply doesn’t do that … it puts great downward pressure on people who work with their hands and on their feet … it is a symbol that we are not committed to working-class Americans,” Cotton said.
“It is imperative that our immigration system focuses on high-skilled workers who can add value to our economy and ultimately achieve their own version of the American dream,” said Perdue.
The bill focuses only on green card legal immigration, which may help it survive opposition since it doesn’t affect the number of green card or temporary workers, nor does it restrict work permits.
According to Breitbart:
If the RAISE Act becomes law, Democrats and their business allies would lose the huge annual inflow of immigrants whom they expect will soon bring them national political dominance. That loss will pressure Democrats to compete for votes from working-class Americans by offering to slash the very unpopular inflow of visa-workers.
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