What is the RAISE Act?
Originally introduced on February 13, 2017 by Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arizona, theReforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act or RAISE Act, would eliminate the Diversity Visa Program, limit the President’s discretion in setting the number of refugees admitted annually to the United States, and reduce the number of family-sponsored immigrants, among others. Most recently, the revised bill by Senator Cotton and Republican Senator David Purdue of Georgia, has gained President Trump's endorsement.
Will this drastically change the U.S. immigration system?
Yes, it would. The bill would, over 10 years, reduce legal immigration to roughly 500,000 annually, down from the current level of about 1 million. Specifically the bill:
- Aims to cut immigration by at least half from current levels without a reasonable correlation to family reunification or the economic needs of our nation and which would mark a major shift in U.S. immigration law
- Creates a "merit-based" system that fails to take into account the needs of U.S. businesses
- All but eliminates family-based immigration, by restricting U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsoring only spouses and minor children for green cards
- Reduces the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 50,000 per year, contrary to our nation's proud tradition of serving as a beacon of hope for people fleeing persecution
- Ends the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program which has awarded 50,000 green cards annually to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
What do immigration advocates think about this bill?
Immigration advocates such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) strongly oppose the introduction of this bill. According to AILA, the bill does nothing to reform the outdated immigration system, yet seeks to curtail legal immigration levels over the next decade. Watch AILA's video below about this issue.
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