Goodbye diversity, hello merit: Trump endorses RAISE Act immigration reform

Goodbye diversity, hello merit: Trump endorses RAISE Act immigration reform

Goodbye diversity, hello merit: Trump endorses RAISE Act immigration reform

U.S. president Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a legislation that seeks to promote a merit-based immigration system similar to that in Canada and Australia, but which will also sharply reduce legal immigration, cutting the number of green cards issued every year.

Trump announced the new legislation during an event at the White House alongside GOP Sens. The president said if approved the measure would represent "the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century". Under the new bill, known as the RAISE Act, the United States would prioritize high-skilled immigrants by setting up a merits-based system similar to those used by Canada and Australia. "If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state's economy which relies on this immigrant workforce", Graham said on Wednesday.

The initial bill, which stalled in the Senate for several months and is being reintroduced with certain changes, called for the elimination of the "diversity visa", would allocate 50,000 visas annually to people from countries with low immigration rates to the United States and place a cap on refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects USA workers and taxpayers - and that is why we are here today.

The bill faces dim prospects in Congress, where almost all Democrats and a sizable number of Republicans oppose its key provisions. It ultimately stalled in the Senate.

Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, for instance, immediately came out against the bill and said it would be "devastating to our state's economy which relies on this immigrant workforce".

The president had promised an Iowa crowd in June that he would soon introduce legislation that legal immigrants to America should not receive welfare benefits for at least five years. "And if America isn't that place, someplace else will be", said Charles Kuck, an immigration attorney in Georgia and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The proposed reform is the biggest change to U.S. immigration policies in 50 years, Trump said, and would "restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens" by protecting USA workers from being displaced and helping ensure the newcomers will assimilate and succeed. Instead, the RAISE Act proposes to decimate the family-based immigration system, keeping families separated and preventing immigrant communities from taking root.

"The new Cotton-Perdue bill would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards".

Officials stopped short of saying Trump would endorse the bill on Wednesday. "So, we're proposing to limit family-based migration to spouses and minor children".

Cotton called the current system an "obsolete disaster" that puts downward pressure on "people who work with their hands or work on their feet".

Immigration advocacy groups are opposed, as are many economists who say the nation, with an aging population and low fertility rate, should be encouraging an influx of younger workers to spur economic growth.

Related news