Immigration

Republican Senators Introduce Bill To Cut Legal Immigration in Half

The RAISE Act would strongly prioritize high-skilled immigrants.

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A trio of Republican senators reintroduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE) Act last week, which seeks to reduce legal immigration by 50 percent.

Spearheaded by Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) with support from Sens. David Perdue (R–Ga.) and Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), the bill would establish a merit-based point system that prizes those with lucrative job offers, U.S.-recognized college degrees, domestic financial holdings, and English language skills. It also aims to undercut White House Adviser Jared Kushner, who has pushed a plan in recent months that would give temporary visas to migrant workers.

President Trump lauded the RAISE Act when it was first unveiled in July 2017, characterizing the current immigration setup as "a terrible system where anybody comes in," particularly "people that have never worked" and "people that are criminals."

But almost none of that is true: The low-skill immigrants that the president has cast as criminal welfare queens are anything but. Those same people tend to be steadily employed, use fewer government resources, commit crimes at a lower rate than the native-born, and consistently drive innovation.

In recent months, however, the vast majority of Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric has been narrowly directed toward the undocumented, potentially signaling a change of tune. "Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways," the president said during his 2019 State of the Union address. "I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally."

Yet how the RAISE Act would further Trump's new open-arms attitude toward legal migrants remains to be seen, as the bill proposes to slash successful applicants in half. Nor is it apparent how it would curb illegal immigration, if that's an unstated goal.

In any case, the bill's bare-bones proposal would cost the country 4.6 million jobs, with the gross domestic product sinking 2 percent over the next few decades, according to an analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School. "Job losses emerge because domestic workers will not fill all the jobs that immigrant workers would have filled," researchers conclude, particularly as the country is already experiencing a labor shortage.

What's more, low-skill workers—whom the bill threatens to exclude almost entirely—constitute a core section of the U.S. workforce, particularly in the agricultural, construction, and transportation sectors, among others.

The rebirth of the RAISE Act is certainly a bad thing, particularly if Trump is serious about welcoming more legal immigrants. But even more troublesome is the current system as a whole, so burdened by a bureaucratic slew of rules that even the most experienced policymakers don't seem to understand. In 2017, Kansas's then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach said of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients: "Go home and get in line, come into the United States legally, then get a green card, then become a citizen." That same year, over 22.4 million people applied for one of the 50,000 green cards allotted. That means that approximately 99.8 percent of people were denied lawful permanent residence through the visa lottery program.

"Go the legal way," they say.

But a low-skill Mexican immigrant seeking residence to the States has to wait an average of 131 years for approval. That's time no person has to spare—and it's likely why more than 11 million people opted for the illegal route.

That immigrants keep the economy in motion is not lost on Trump. "I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in," said Trump after his State of the Union address. "We need people."

He's right. We need people. But those people will be hard to come by with a bill like the RAISE Act, and even harder still so long as the legal system remains impenetrable.

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56 responses to “Republican Senators Introduce Bill To Cut Legal Immigration in Half

  1. From Trump’s SOTU:
    “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.”

    Is this a case of needing to watch what he does or listen to what he says?

    1. Bills originate in the House and Senate

      1. Except in the cases of national emergencies.

        President Trump lauded the RAISE Act when it was first unveiled in July 2017

        Certainly he wouldn’t support a bill that went against his stated goals in the SOTU, right?

      2. Yes, and are signed into law by the president of the United States.

        Congrats on watching that episode of Schoolhouse Rock

    2. Dunno – but either way, we don’t need more people moving here.
      I prefer we bomb or strafe criminal invaders – and cutting legal immigration back to the historic levels is at least a step in the right direction – though we really should lower it further than that. I am aware that immigration can be good for America. It’s just I’m sick of all the CRAP we’ve been getting… the … $134 BILLION we spend on criminal aliens, the cost of LEGAL aliens, the muslim bitch in congress, the massive numbers of DUIs, drug offenses and violent crimes…

      Enough.

      Slam the borders shut. Kill anyone who tries to invade. Deport all the criminal aliens who are already here. Establish minimum standards for immigration – then move ahead. Cautiously, this time.

      1. ::throws BambiB out::
        Ok, the new immigration requirements are everyone who is not BambiB can come in.

  2. I disagree with cutting legal immigration. My goal is to increase legal immigration tremendously–especially for those with little or no skills. Labor is a resource, having more of a resource available for less is better, and the solution to welfare is not cutting immigration. The solution to welfare is cutting welfare programs.

    That being said, the Republican senators’ solution is vastly superior to the pathetic version of open borders being peddled around here because of one thing: the Republican senators’ solution is entirely constitutional. Immigration policy falls well within the proper purview of democracy, which is why the Constitution separates powers and delegates setting the rules of naturalization to Congress.

    It isn’t only that the governed can’t be a free people if an open borders policy is inflicted on them without their consent; it’s also that “libertarians” who oppose treaties and wars being inflicted on the American people without input from Congress have no business insisting on the separation of powers–only when it suits them. Rather than make such self-contradictory clowns of themselves, they’d do the rest of a service if they’d stop pretending they had any principles at all.

    1. Go Ken Go! Agree all around!

    2. That being said, the Republican senators’ solution is vastly superior to the pathetic version of open borders being peddled around here because of one thing: the Republican senators’ solution is entirely constitutional.

      This statement is fallacious. Even if immigration control is authorized by the Constitution it doesn’t mean that it’s required by it. To imply that any policy in which Congress chooses not to regulate something is somehow less Constitutional than a policy which exercises their regulatory authority simply because it is allowed under the Constitution is not only wrong, it’s incompatible with the very concept of limited government.

      Also, immigration does not equal naturalization.

      1. Did I not point out that I support a tremendous amount of legal immigration and oppose this bill?

        Because I think Congress should have to weigh in on a popular war doesn’t mean that I support the war. I can oppose a war even after it’s been properly and popularly declared by Congress.

        I do insist, however, that our wars are properly declared by Congress, and I insist that the rules of naturalization are set by Congress, as well–even when I disagree with them.

        I’d rather have constitutional laws that I disagree with than give up on the Constitution. Isn’t that what civil society is all about?

        1. Explain then, how you think “the Republican senators’ solution is vastly superior… because of one thing: the Republican senators’ solution is entirely constitutional”

          Are you not saying that more government regulation (authorized by the Constitution) is superior to simply doing nothing?

          Your analogy to war doesn’t fit. The Republican solution is to change current law to allow for more restriction. Doing nothing further to change legal immigration is a far better solution in my mind than further restricting legal immigration. We don’t require Congressional approval to NOT go to war, just like we shouldn’t require Congressional approval to NOT change the legal immigration laws.

          What have we “given up on the Constitution” by allowing the current levels of legal immigration?

      2. Reason and your support of DACA pretty much ends any moral standing you have to talk about the Constitution and the rule of law. You don’t care about the rule of law or the constitution. You care about getting your pony.

        1. I don’t support DACA. When have I said that I do? I think Congress should arrive at a solution for the Dreamers, not the President’s pen and phone.

    3. Labor is a resource

      Labor is a cost.

      It is not and cannot be a ‘resource’

      It is what is done to obtain resources or products.

      The labor theory of value is a perversion of the idea of ‘value’.

      Having lots of cheap labor only works if you factor labor as a cost, so even your initial formulation recognizes this.

      1. How is it not both a cost and a resource?

    4. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

      Does that mean a proposal that bans the sale of out of state lemon derived products is vastly superior to the pathetic “open borders” policies that would allow any kid to just set up a lemonade stand wherever they want?

  3. “But a low-skill Mexican immigrant seeking residence to the States has to wait an average of 131 years for approval.”

    Months?

    1. My inside sources tell me that the actual, real, de facto policy is, if you are a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan from Norway, you will be admitted to the USA and be given your citizenship just as soon as your campaign check for Trump re-election clears the bank.

      http://www.vox.com/2018/1/11/16880750/trump-immigrants-shithole-countries-norway

      Trump wants fewer immigrants from “shithole countries” and more from places like Norway

      If you are a darkie from a shit-hole nation, the standard is, your death plus 70 years.

      If you’re a good-looking young porn star or model, and The Donald wants down your pants, the standard is “immediate admission and citizenship”.

      1. No wonder people cross illegally. I figured the average wait would be within a lifetime, something like 10 years.

      2. What Norwegian in their right mind would want to come to the USA?

    2. Seems high to me as well. I do know that the family category for Mexicans is now at 30 years (they just started processing the 1996 applications) – and Mexicans aren’t eligible for the diversity lottery. But Mexicans also do get the vast majority of temporary lower-skilled H2 visas. Since Mexicans are also the least likely to become citizens if they do get permanent residence, I don’t see why they should get any priority for that sort of permanent visa.

  4. I also agree with Ken we need more low-skill immigrants, not so much the high-skill ones…

    I notice that my lawn-mower-dude from Stanstanstanistan does NOT lobby for more protection of HIS racket… Licenses etc. … Which is why I would take this bullshit about wanting more high-skill immigrants and fewer low-skill immigrants, and stand it on its head, exactly inverting it… Reward the people who do NOT lobby to fuck us all over! And then open up our doctor-lawyer-dentist-etc. schools for more admissions and fewer bullshit standards… WHY in the HELL does my dentist need to know about the Krebs Cycle anyway… And let my lawn-mower dude study and practice up, and do my teeth for me!

    1. You called it. The key to a rich and productive economy is lots of low productivity workers. You don’t want high skilled high productivity ones.

      Such is the economic theory of the wokeltarian.

    2. In a world of global competition, I”d rather have more high-skilled workers than less.

      They’re going to innovate somewhere, better if it’s here.

  5. We get it reason. Its open borders and no compromise.

    Its why Trump’s position is very popular among Americans. No compromise. Deport all illegals and keep as many out as possible.

    1. The point is the hypocrisy of negotiating in bad faith. The President says to the country that we need to stop illegal immigration so that we can have legal immigration in the “largest numbers ever,” and then supports this bill that does actually limit. Which is it?

      He knows that if he says he wants to limit ALL immigration, even legal, he doesn’t have support.

  6. Beyond this being incredibly shitty policy, in what universe could this possibly be good politics? Are there really votes to be captured by cutting legal immigration in half?

    P.S. Removal of Preview = very, very, very bad.

    1. No preview is going to result in lots of bad links.

    2. Are there really votes to be captured by cutting legal immigration in half?

      That depends on whether or not you believe anti-immigrant Republicans are
      (A) Just worried about illegal immigration and not racist at all, or
      (B) Worried about all immigration because they are, in fact, racist.

  7. doesn’t matter whether they’re “skilled” that’s elitist bullshit. just matters they’re signed up (and I’m really wavering on that but maybe I’m just tired of the whole nonsense) I guess for some social contract and taxes blah blah

  8. This RAISE Act is complete cronyist crap. Starts with a reasonable premise – a points system – but basically eliminates all visas unless one has an excellent job offer in hand. So it is not really a skills-based system. It is a subsidy for multinational employers.

  9. Excuse me I was assured they only hate illegal immigrants so this must be fake news please fix kthnks bye

  10. Interesting how we adopt an (almost) identical system to Japan, yet not a single Reason writer seems to take issue with having a culturally homogeneous non-white society. Really activates my almonds.

    1. It’s almost as if Reason wasn’t a Japan based magazine…
      What craziness…

  11. HR 4760:

    eliminates the visa lottery
    cuts chain migration
    adds mandatory E-Verify
    increases border security
    ends sanctuary cities
    provides the 700,000 DACA recipients with a three-year renewable legal status
    provides no automatic paths to citizenship

    The last bipartisan Congressional commission on immigration, led by the late Barbara Jordan, recommended reducing legal immigration to 550,000 by eliminating the immigration of non-nuclear family members and the visa lottery. The HR 4760 would accomplish both of those goals.

    Further, HR 4760 would transform the current employment-based green card system to a merit-based points system, like Canada’s and Australia’s, that would ensure that new immigrants have the necessary skills to benefit American workers and their wages.

    Excessive population, driven by excessive immigration, has severely damaged the American middle class via high rents, high prices for homes, high property taxes to pay for K12 education and welfare for immigrant families whose taxes don’t cover their costs. Tens of of billions in medicare fraud is committed by immigrants.

    Please spare me the misleading response that immigrants contribute to the economy. Of course, more people will increase the GDP, but as was noted, long ago, “GDP measures everything except that which is worthwhile” (Robert Kennedy)

    1. The points system LOOKS like Canada and Australia. But the differences are far more important than the obvious plagiarism. The US system is heavily weighted towards essentially eliminating immigration except scientists/researchers of multinational companies and millionaires. The Canada/Australia are actual skills points systems with an emphasis on those who will ultimately assimilate and become citizens.

      It’s almost like the GOP said ‘Let’s copy the Canada/Oz system’ – and then in the usual corrupt way ran it by their big donors who proceeded to distort it so it will personally benefit them and few others.

    2. How are people crossing the border because they want to be here any worse than people born here randomly?

  12. How will more immigrants make land for homes more affordable?

    1. Do…
      Do you…
      Do you think houses grow on trees?

  13. When did Reason become a 1-issue libertarian site. Every article is immigration immigration immigration. And not a single one ever discusses the voting preferences of immigrants.

    1. And not a single one ever discusses the voting preferences of immigrants.

      By the time they can vote, they’re citizens.

    2. I’d ask why you aren’t asking the same questions of women and African Americans but I’m worried that I know the answer…

      So instead I’ll ask why they don’t bring up the voting preferences of uneducated hillbillies who elected a narcissistic sociopathic dictator wannabe with a room temperature IQ.

      1. Why bring up Bill Clinton?

      2. You mean the guy who wants (relatively) less government spending, more freedom, believes in gun rights, etc? Why did the hillbillies vote for that guy?

        Because they’re actually fucking Americans who mostly appreciate the ideas America was founded on… Unlike the vast majority of recent immigrants.

        As for native born minorities, none of them believe in America either. Sad, but true. White Americans are the only ones who consistently lean towards the basic ideas the nation was founded on. And they’re pretty shitty on it all, but far better than anybody else.

        Which is why we’re fucked. Half of whites suck balls too, and 70-90% of non whites are shit with voting. We’re doomed. Thank you 1965 immigration act!

    3. New Editor OpenBordersLiberaltarian had something to do with it

  14. […] Republican Senators Introduce Bill To Cut Legal Immigration in Half  – 04/17/2019 […]

  15. Reason has become a dishonest propaganda machine for the US’s transformation into a third-world shithole.
    50-75% of Illegal aliens commit Social Security fraud and/or identity theft, both felonies.
    50% of illegal aliens are subsidized by US taxpayers.
    And, please explain how illiterate, low-skilled detritus leads to ‘innovation’. This might be the most dishonest, false, and biased comments ever written since ‘diversity is beautiful’

    1. Because the Indians with PHDs are somehow magically EXACTLY the same as Mexicans with 6th grade educations?

      They’re lying shills. It’s also NOT true with the crime stats, welfare use, etc. Immigrants are basically slightly better than native born black Americans… And worse than every other category of native born Americans on all those things. But because blacks DO count in the averages, it skews the perceived result. But anybody using black America as the bar for what is acceptable in terms of crime, welfare use, etc is TRIPPIN’.

    2. yeah, but most of the SS fraud means they pay SS and don’t get any benefits later. so they’re propping up the system. if they do collect, they don’t live as long

  16. Aren’t “high(ly) skilled” immigrants the one who steal the best jobs from American citizens though? If immigration isn’t free and open, I’d rather the government bring in more people at the bottom of the economic ladder who can work their way up.

  17. […] “rapists.” He’s also flipped on the subject more than once—just this year he said that he wants immigrants to come “in the largest numbers ever,” but later claimed that […]

  18. […] He’s also flipped on the subject more than once—just this year he said that he wants immigrants to come “in the largest numbers ever,” but later claimed that […]

  19. […] Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would cut legal immigration in half. The underlying theory, long espoused by people such as Trump immigration Advisor Stephen Miller, […]

  20. […] Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would cut legal immigration in half. The underlying theory, long espoused by people such as Trump immigration Advisor Stephen Miller, […]

  21. […] Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would cut legal immigration in half. The underlying theory, long espoused by people such as Trump immigration Advisor Stephen Miller, […]

  22. […] Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would cut legal immigration in half. The underlying theory, long espoused by people such as Trump immigration Advisor Stephen Miller, […]

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