The recently introduced RAISE Act–Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy–would utilize a merit-based point system to increase the English language fluency and technical skills level of foreign citizens accepted into the U.S. while at the same time decreasing the total number approved for entry. While countries around the world have just such a commonsense system in place, left-leaning groups in America are screaming “racism” and “discrimination” over the idea the U.S. would implement a similar strategy.
By John Friend
In yet another effort to fulfill his campaign promises, President Donald Trump recently announced a major new immigration proposal designed to significantly reduce the number of legal immigrants entering the U.S. each year.
The president has been and remains a vocal critic of illegal immigration and has taken serious and commendable measures to crack down on it. However, legal immigration is arguably an even more urgent problem that needs to be addressed, as over 1 million legal immigrants enter the U.S. each year, and this proposal aims to tackle this issue head-on.
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The bill is known as the RAISE Act, which stands for Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act. It seeks to transform the current immigration paradigm to incentivize highly skilled immigrants by creating a merit-based system for prospective migrants, a stark departure from the previous immigration model that allowed family members and relatives of immigrants already settled in America to gain residency regardless of their skills, education, and economic prospects upon entering the U.S.
The Trump administration has been working closely with two key GOP lawmakers—Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.)—to craft the legislation and announced their proposal last week during a White House ceremony.
Trump explained to reporters that the proposed legislation “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump regularly criticized America’s broken immigration system, which he correctly argued has harmed America’s economy and its workers, jeopardized American national security, and facilitated the resettlement of millions of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants who have little to offer the U.S. economy.
“As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers, and that’s why we are here today,” Trump told reporters during the White House ceremony announcing the legislation.
The bill’s proponents argue that it will “spur economic growth and help raise working Americans’ wages” by “ending chain migration, giving priority to the most highly skilled immigrants from around the world, and reducing overall immigration by half,” according to a fact sheet released by Cotton and Perdue.
“Only 1 out of every 15 U.S. immigrants come here because of their skills, and we do not prioritize the ultra high-skilled immigrants who spur innovation, create jobs, and make America more competitive,” the fact sheet contends. “At the same time, the United States accepts 1 million immigrants annually—the equivalent of adding the entire state of Montana each year—and most are low- or unskilled. A generation-long influx of low-skilled immigrant labor has put downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with recent immigrants’ wages hardest hit.”
The bill seeks to upend America’s disastrous immigration policy by tackling these issues head-on.
The RAISE Act would establish a skills-based points system that prioritizes visa applicants based on a number of important factors, including their education, English-speaking ability, job offers, and overall economic prospects. It would also outright eliminate granting visa preference for the extended family members and relatives of immigrants already settled in the United States, and would eliminate the State Department’s so-called “Diversity Visa Lottery,” which the bill’s authors argue is “plagued with fraud” and “advances no economic or humanitarian interest.” Finally, the bill would limit the total number of refugees seeking permanent residency each year to 50,000.
“Immigrants coming here on skills-based visas will be better educated, more skilled, more fluent in English, have more working-age years ahead of them, and have a stronger entrepreneurial spirit,” proponents of the bill contend. “They will have a greater shot at becoming successful Americans, which will work to the benefit of all Americans in the form of an expanded and more competitive economy.”
The legislation has been praised by a number of conservative groups and leaders as well as a variety of immigration think tanks that favor more restrictions on immigration, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, while Democrats, the radical left, and a variety of ethnic lobbying organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have hysterically condemned the proposed legislation.
“This proposed legislation is cruel, anti-family, and un-American,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL, stated in response to the RAISE Act. “These are the types of policy markers that exacerbate immigrant bashing and nativist attitudes in this country. Diversity is our country’s strength and immigration has made America great.” Greenblatt and other opponents of the bill have pledged to “work hard against this cruel legislation.”
A number of prominent Republicans have also voiced their suspicion and outright hostility toward the RAISE Act, complicating matters for the president. Passing the legislation will no doubt prove to be a challenge, as has virtually everything else Trump has attempted to accomplish.
John Friend is a writer who lives in California.