RAISE Act Reintroduced In Congress
Today, much of the country is focused on the current humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. However, another crisis has been brewing in the United States for decades as the levels of low-skilled and unskilled immigration have risen, depressing American wages and displacing America’s most vulnerable workers.
To address this imbalance, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined with a group of Representatives led by Representative Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) to reintroduce the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. If passed, this legislation—previously supported by both FAIR and the Trump administration— would finally bring the U.S. legal immigration system into the 21st century.
Unfortunately, our current legal immigration system does not prioritize immigrants based on skills or abilities. To address this imbalance, the RAISE Act would implement a skills-based system in which applicants can earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative. Merit based systems are already used in nations around the world, including: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
In addition to implementing a thorough skill-based system, the RAISE Act makes several other valuable changes to our immigration system. First, the legislation will eliminate the diversity visa lottery, which is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interests, and ultimately does not even promote diversity. Additionally, it will prioritize the nuclear family by giving preference to spouses and minor child.
Furthermore, the bill creates a temporary, renewable visa for American citizens that wish to bring foreign, elderly parents to the United States for caretaking purposes. Finally, the RAISE Act will limit permanent residency to 50,000 refugees per year— a cap chosen based on average numbers for over the past decade.
The bill’s sponsors released the follow statements upon introduction:
“I’m proud to reintroduce the RAISE Act supported by theWhite House. For decades, our immigration system has been completely divorcedfrom the needs of our country and has harmed the livelihoods of working-classAmericans. The RAISE Act would build an immigration system that increasesworking-class wages, creates jobs, and gives every citizen a fair shot atachieving the American Dream, no matter whether their family came over on theMayflower or just took the Oath of Allegiance,” said Cotton.
“Our current immigration system is broken and is not meetingthe needs of our growing economy. If we want to continue to be the globaleconomic leader, we have to welcome the best and brightest from around theworld who wish to come to the United States legally to work and make a betterlife for themselves. This will require a skills-based immigration system thatis pro-growth and pro-worker. The RAISE Act is proven to work and is still theonly plan that responds to the needs of our economy, while preserving qualityjobs and wages for American workers,” said Purdue.
“We need an immigration system that puts Americanworkers first. Our broken immigration policies hurt hardworking Americans andthe talented individuals who are stuck in line, waiting to contribute to ourcountry. With the RAISE Act, the United States can finally end chain migrationand move to a merit-based system. All Americans deserve rising wages, a growingeconomy, and an equal shot at the American Dream,” said Hawley.
“The United States immigration system is broken. Only one inevery 15 immigrants to our country are granted visas 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 system we have now supportsprograms like the Diversity Visa Lottery, which does not add skills orcompetitive workers to our workplace, and “chain migration,” whereby once aperson enters, their family relations can automatically come to the U.S.regardless of their employability… Passing this legislation, along withlegislation that I have cosponsored to fix the asylum-seeking process andmandate e-verify, will provide significantly better immigration policy andgreater control of our borders,” said Congressman Rooney.
Dan Stein, president of FAIR applauded this year’s proposal.“The RAISE Act would ensure that immigration levels – which currently operatein a vacuum and are unaffected by the unemployment level or the economic needsof the country – would finally begin to serve the national interest. It’sclearly time for this nation to jettison the failed policies of the past andembrace a new paradigm that will do a much better job of selecting immigrantswho arrive with the skills they need to make this nation better, while alsobenefitting themselves and their immediate families.
“Any legal immigration reform plan that deviates from theRAISE framework would betray several of President Trump’s key campaign promises— one of which was reducing overall immigration levels. The White Housesupported the bill last Congress and they should support it again.”