President Donald Trump announced his plan for reforming legal immigration on August 2, 2017. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue joined the President’s announcement of the new plan.
The new immigration plan is formally titled Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act). By selecting this title, the President and lawmakers appear to communicate their intent to improve American employment and give Americans a wage raise by limiting immigration.
Here are the key objectives of the President’s immigration plan:
- Reduce overall immigration by 41% in the first year after passage and by 50% within 10 years;
- Eliminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa program also known as the Green Card lottery;
- Restrict family based visas to eliminate preferences for relatives other than spouses and minor children;
- Cap offers of permanent residency (Green Cards) for refugees at 50,000 per year; and,
- Create a new temporary visa program for parents of U.S. citizens on the condition that such parents cannot work or receive public benefits in the U.S. and must be guaranteed support and health insurance by their sponsoring children.
The RAISE Act now heads to Congress for review and possible voting on passage. Some lawmakers in Congress have expressed strong opposition, although the ultimate fate of the RAISE Act is not yet known.
Given the President’s push to curb immigration levels, the President is not particularly popular with many potential immigrants to the U.S. However, certain countries such as Canada view the President’s reform agenda as an opportunity to heighten their own immigration recruitment efforts to attract qualified workers in the high-tech industry and other fields who might have otherwise been seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
In response, President Trump has indicated his belief that the RAISE Act will actually reorient America’s Green Card system to favor immigrants who are most qualified to have a beneficial effect on the U.S. economy. More on this can be found here.