President Trump endorsed a new bill – the ‘Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (Raise) Act’ – aimed at cutting back legal immigration by 50% over a decade. The Bill, sponsored by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Purdue, introduces a points-based system for adjudicating green card applications. The proposed legislation creates a “merit-based” immigration system that would weigh in factors such as job skills, education, English language proficiency, past achievements, etc. as opposed to family ties in the U.S.
Some of the highlights of the Bill (RAISE Act) are:
- Retains immigration preferences for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminates preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.
- Eliminates the diversity visa lottery that doles out 50,000 green cards a year and sets a 50,000 cap on green cards for refugees.
- Number of legal immigrants allowed into the US would plummet by 40% in the first year and by 50% over a decade.
- Caps the number of green cards awarded to refugees at 50,000 per year.
The Bill if passed into law, will significantly reduce family-based immigration and a large number of qualified foreign nationals may no longer be able to get permanent residence status under the new parameters of the Bill. However, the Bill may likely be opposed by Congressional Democrats and could potentially face resistance from some corporate leaders and moderate Republicans who are typically in favor of legal immigration.
Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Senior Associate