Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue said their bill would cut the number of immigrants granted US residency each year to 500,000 from 1 million, through measures including cutting far back on which relatives can be brought into the country and eliminating a diversity visa lottery.
Two Republican senators say they are sponsoring legislation that would make major changes in the US immigration system, slashing the number of foreign nationals admitted into the country each year by up to 50 percent.
Cotton argued that the growth in legal immigration in recent decades had led to a "sharp decline in wages for working Americans" and that the bill represented an effort to move the United States "to a more merit-based system like Canada and Australia". We preserve 50,000 green cards a year for refugees which is in keeping with the historic norms under President Bush and President Obama and indeed the economic impact would probably help recent immigrants the most because those immigrants who are now here, who are recently naturalized, are the ones most likely to face economic competition for jobs from new immigrants. Senators Cotton and Perdue may intend to raise the wages of lower-skilled Americans, but their bill is more likely to line the coffers of firms that manufacture machines that can substitute for them.
The bill's title is "Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment", or the RAISE Act-a nice play on words since the resulting effect would be an increase in wages for American workers.
The bill also seeks to limit immigrants who have received green cards to only applying for citizenship for spouses, minor children and sick parents.
"It's time our immigration system started working for American workers", said Cotton, who is emerging as an immigration hawk in the mold of Senator Jeff Sessions, who is awaiting confirmation as Trump's attorney general. This legislation would, as you say, still allow a half million into this country every single year-if you're now an immigrant green card holder, your spouse and your minor children will be admitted.
Perdue and Cotton acknowledged the bill would not come up any time soon, saying they hoped for a Senate vote this year. Elderly parents in need of caretaking would be able to get renewable temporary visas, but the parents would not be allowed to work, receive public benefits, and they would have to show guaranteed support of health insurance by the sponsoring children. The detailed empirical work in this paper considers many other possibilities but convincingly answers them, such as pointing out that almost all of the Braceros went home instead of staying on illegally and that the flow illegal Mexican farm workers did not pick up immediately.
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But Mr Iordache, who had drawn up the bill, insisted that "all that I've done was legal". The constitutional court has still to rule on the bill's legality.
Cotton and Perdue said they had consulted Republican President Donald Trump, who vowed to crack down on both illegal and legal immigration during his campaign for the White House.
"We've had several communications with senior officials in the White House who have helped craft the legislation and refine it in some ways, and we expect to continue working with them", Cotton told Breitbart News.
The new bill also would stop a diversity visa lottery that brings in about 50,000 visas a year and limits refugees to 50,000 annually. But a number of them have previously signed on to paring back family-preference categories, and they have also backed ending the diversity-visa lottery.
We became a nation of immigrants via immigration at our historical levels.
'But we simply can't have an immigration system that admits adult siblings and parents and unlimited family-based chain migration without any connection to job skills or economic needs'. It doesn't even really serve diversity that much.
"According to immigration projection models based on the work of Princeton and Harvard professors, the RAISE Act would lower overall immigration to 637,960 in its first year and to 539,958 by its tenth year-a 50 percent reduction from the 1,051,031 immigrants who arrived in 2015", Cotton's one-pager explains.