Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Trump's RAISE Act: What it does and doesn't do

President Donald Trump and U.S. Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas today unveiled the "Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act." Amid the unhinged media hysteria that often occurs with proposals such as this, it's best to consider what the bill actually does and doesn't do.

As Breitbart News' Neil Munro explains:
To help the bill survive opposition from media and business groups, the bill focuses only on green card legal immigration. It does not raise or lower the number of green card workers, such as H-1Bs, or constrict the annual award of work permits, dubbed “Employment Authorization Documents.”

Each year, the federal government provides green cards to roughly 1 million people. It also provides work visas to roughly 500,000 foreign workers, such as H-2Bs and H-1Bs, and it provides work permits to roughly 2 million people, including refugees and foreign graduates of U.S. colleges.
Munro passes along a statement from Perdue detailing what the RAISE Act would do. According to the senator, it would:
• Establish a Skills-Based Points System. The RAISE Act would replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.

• Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.

• Eliminate the Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Lottery is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and does not even promote diversity. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.

• Place a Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees. The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average.
A section-by-section summary is here, and a fact sheet on the legislation is here. Here is the raw video of the announcement.

As my editors like to caution, a proposal is just that and nothing more. I would expect farm groups to be very actively engaged as this legislation works its way through Congress. If any groups issue statements in the coming days, I will post them.

For continuing coverage of this issue, keep watch at CapitalPress.com.

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