President Trump criticized the existing immigration system for putting substantial pressure on American workers, taxpayers and community resources. He singled out minority workers as among those hit the hardest in trying to compete for jobs with brand new arrivals who work for low wages.
It has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, to our workers … [this RAISE act] will give Americans a pay raise by reducing immigration… [and] it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens.”
A fact sheet provided to the media indicates the new system will favor immigrants who are educated, speak English and have high-paying job offers.
President Trump emphasized that new immigrants will have to be able to provide for themselves and their families financially.
The RAISE Act prevents new migrants and new immigrants from collecting welfare and protects U.S. workers from being displaced,” the president said. “And that’s a very big thing, they’re not going to come in and just immediately go and collect welfare.”
Democrats and business groups are expected to oppose the legislation because they want to keep up the inflow of unskilled foreign migrants. Democrats hope to push the newcomers into welfare dependency while business groups want to keep wages low and cultivate new welfare-aided consumers.
Polls have shown strong support for the Trump initiatives, which are designed to reduce the foreign inflow from almost four million people a year, including temporary blue-collar and white-collar workers in addition to regular immigrants.
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.”
Senator Cotton said the nation’s immigration system should work to the benefit of American workers, not to their detriment.
[The new RAISE act] would raise economic growth and help America get more competitive,” said Cotton. “Our current system simply doesn’t do that … it puts great downward pressure on people who work with their hands and on their feet … it is a symbol that we are not committed to working-class Americans.”
Promoting the merit-based features of the bill, Senator Perdue noted the upside to be gained by its passage.
It is imperative that our immigration system focuses on high skilled workers who can add value to our economy and ultimately achieve their own version of the American dream.”
Perdue also highlighted for key features of the bill. The RAISE Act is designed to: (1) establish a skill-based point system to determine who should be admitted; (2) prioritize immediate family households, not extended family; (3) eliminate the outdated diversity visa lottery system; and (4) place a responsible limit on permanent residency for refugees at 50,000 annually, in line with a 13-year average.
The bill’s introduction won plaudits from pro-American immigration reform groups. Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, noted:
The RAISE Act introduced today by Senators Cotton and Perdue will do more than any other action to fulfill President Trump’s promises as a candidate to create an immigration system that puts the interests of American workers first.”
He added, “Seeing the President standing with the bill’s sponsors at the White House gives hope to the tens of millions of struggling Americans in stagnant jobs or outside the labor market altogether. NumbersUSA stands with these Americans in wholeheartedly endorsing the RAISE Act.”
Today’s ceremony was designed to draw attention to the bill, which has yet to gain more co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate. The GOP leadership has not indicated any interest in voting on immigration reform this year.