In a speech on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, President Trump vocalized strong support for the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, previously proposed by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue. The RAISE Act would fundamentally alter immigration priorities in the United States, limiting access to family based immigrant visas, such as for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, in favor of employment-based visas. The Act would also end the diversity visa lottery and place a limit on the number of annual refugee admissions.
President Trump stated that he believes the United States should implement a merit-based system that favors highly educated or skilled English-speakers. In all, it is estimated that the RAISE Act would cut annual U.S. immigration by fifty percent (50%).
Politically, the Act likely has little chance of passing in the Senate and will face fierce opposition from immigrant rights groups, Democrats, and even some Republicans. However, President Trump’s willingness to support such legislation indicates that immigration remains a priority for the Administration.
From my perspective, I think the RAISE Act is incredibly short-sighted and amounts to simple social engineering. Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy, said it very well: “Just because you have a PhD doesn’t mean you’re necessarily more valuable to the U.S. economy. The best indication of whether a person is employable is if someone wants to hire them.” Amen, Stuart.
I don’t entirely understand why Trump would come right out and support this bill, which is seemingly destined to go nowhere. Assuming he had any political capital left to spend, why would he use it on this? I would take solace in the fact that the bill will likely die, except I thought the same thing of Trump’s candidacy not too long ago….
The RAISE Act bears watching, but at this point, I don’t believe it’s anything to worry about.