President Trump has recently proposed the RAISE bill, which would cut legal immigration in half by greatly reducing family-based immigration (limited to only spouses and children) and eliminating the diversity visa lottery (50,000 green cards issued annually). In addition, the plan would implement a merit-based program that favors immigrants who have advanced skills, are self-supporting financially, and have mastery of the English language. The President claims this plan mirrors the immigration system in Canada.
However, there are several flaws to the RAISE bill. First, by focusing only on advanced skills, many needed legal immigrants who don’t possess advanced skills would be excluded and cheating would increase. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who is strongly opposed, explains,
“Unfortunately, the other part of this proposal would reduce legal immigration by half, including many immigrants who work legally in our agriculture, tourism and service industries.
“South Carolina’s #1 industry is agriculture and tourism is #2. If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy which relies on this immigrant workforce.”
Senator Graham further adds, “It incentivizes more illegal immigration as positions go unfilled. After dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.”
Second, most immigrants are already barred from receiving Federal benefits under existing law during their first five years in the United States, and thus must be able to support themselves. Third, in an ever-increasing global economy, immigrants with multi-language skills are even more valued. Finally, even Canada’s merit-based immigration system allows extended family members to immigrate, not just spouses and children.
President Trump’s RAISE plan is highly unlikely to have a positive economic effect on America. Instead, it will only increase the difficulty for American businesses and its communities to remain competitive in the world economy.
For all your immigration needs, contact Banerjee & Associates