Why The “RAISE” Act Won’t Bring Anyone Up

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President Donald Trump and Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced a new version of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE) that targets legal immigration. (White House photo/ Andrea Hanks)

After the unveiling of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act that targets legal immigration, reports and analysis are emerging on the devastating implications it would have for all Americans, regardless of immigration status.

The measure, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) with the support of President Donald Trump, would shift legal immigration to a point-based merit system to promote a flow of immigrants the administration deems worthy, rather than one based on “chain migration” that aimed to keep families together.

A recent report from the American Immigration Council detailed how many points would be allocated to potential immigrants. It determined that the RAISE system would put certain categories of people at a “tremendous disadvantage.”

“Those groups include women, people who work in the informal economy (including those who do unpaid work), individuals with family ties to U.S. citizens but without formal education and employment history, middle-aged and older adults, and applicants from less-developed countries,” the report read.

For example, the system would give six points for being between the age of 18-21. Those aged 26-30 would receive the maximum of 10 points, with the points lowering for each subsequent, older age bracket.

In addition, it offers one point for a foreign high school degree, and 10 points for a foreign professional degree. Those with job offers with higher salaries give those candidates a maximum of 13 additional points.

It would take 30 points to be eligible to apply for a visa.

“The underlying message of this point distribution is very clear: it prioritizes individuals who are already U.S.-educated, trained in STEM fields, highly-compensated, English-fluent, and young,” the report read.

For further details on how the RAISE Act could affect the economy, the nation’s gross domestic product, and employment, listen to this podcast spotlighting Kent Smetters of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“…Immigrants tend to work pretty hard, and they tend to have a very high attachment rate to the labor force. They are less likely to be on unemployment insurance and things like that, and so they are really a net positive, even at a per person level, not just at an overall level,” Smetters said in the podcast.


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