Two Republican Senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia met with President Trump on Tuesday to discuss a revised and expanded version of their RAISE Act, which they initially presented in March. RAISE is an acronym for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, a bill that reportedly emphasizes a merit-based immigration system that would essentially put limits on legal immigration. In particular, the bill aims to cut the number of legal immigrants admitted to the United States each year to 500,000.
Annually, roughly two-thirds of legal immigrants are admitted into the United States because of family ties. Those ties include immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and four other family-based categories based on the U.S. citizen’s petitioner legal status, age, family relationship, and marital status of the applicant. The RAISE Act would profoundly curb family-preference categories. The bill would also eliminate the diversity lottery, which allots 50,000 green cards each year to those from countries with low immigration rates to the United States, to promote diversity.
Paradoxically, while the underlying goal of the Republican-forwarded RAISE Act is to help raise American worker wages, it has been the GOP that has fought against raising minimum wage which would actually help American workers.
Many democrats are against the RAISE Act, stating that the closing of the doors on refugees and immigrants is fundamentally un-American. Apart from strong Democratic resistance, Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona dismissed the RAISE Act when it was first introduced, suggestive of deep intra-party chasms regarding both the Cotton-Perdue Bill and the future of immigration reform.