On August 2, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue unveiled legislation for an improved immigration system in the United States. The goal of this reform is to cut immigration in half over the next ten years by giving preference to skilled immigrants with entrepreneurial spirit.
According to the president this new bill would “save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars,” as it hopes to cut the amount of immigrants that rely on welfare and other taxpayer fueled government subsidies as they enter our country.
The proposed bill, called the RAISE Act, reforms the immigration system by changing from a lottery-based structure to a point-based system, in which a computer randomly draws names of hopeful immigrants. This system favors those who are able to immediately contribute to society from the moment they get here, rather than taking away from hard working Americans by relying on the government.
This bill, like all legislation, faces difficulties on its road to being passed. The RAISE Act is certainly going to be opposed by the Democrats and Jim Acosta, claiming the policy is un-American based off the poem on the Statue of Liberty. Some Republicans also find the legislation unfavorable because they believe that their party needs to focus on more pressing issues before reforming the immigration system.
In the wake of the failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, the party has moved their focus towards tax reform, another major promise from Trump, as well as other Republicans, throughout last year’s election cycle.
“Healthcare and Taxes [are] enough,” stated Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
Republicans are also concerned about the way the reform will affect the economy. They worry that even with a decreased amount of immigrants entering the country, the average American will still not want to take their place in industries such as agriculture and tourism.
Nevertheless, according to the Pew Research Center, immigrants do not make up a majority of the workers in any major U.S industries, which plays right into how the RAISE Act can help our economy moving forward. The truth is that the majority of immigrants currently employed in the United States are not going anywhere anytime soon, which means that, while those people are still hard at work for the next ten years, the U.S would be bringing in the best possible workers to help boost those industries.
If the bill does not pass, however, the quality of workers entering the country could be much worse and this too could slow these industries moving forward.
Bottom line, the RAISE Act is another piece to Trump’s “America first” agenda, as well as his immigration policy, that he promised throughout his campaign. Although it may be tough to pass through the House and Senate without making some revisions, many say that it is possible this bill could be passed based off favorability. Recent polls show that Americans are favorable toward meritocracy based immigration that addresses our skilled labor gap, and are not happy with the lottery immigration system currently in use.
(Correction: A previous version of the article stated that the White House released the proposed legislation. The legislation was proposed by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.)