United States immigration bills aims to cut legal immigration half

Senators in the United States have introduced yet another new bill designed to severely limit immigration.

Sponsored by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the new Bill, called the “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act”, seeks to slash green cards from the present average of one million a year to 500,000 within ten years.

The legislation specifically targets family-based chain migration under which the US has been giving preferential treatment to immigration applications from relatives of American citizens and legal permanent residents.

While the RAISE Act would maintain immigration preferences for spouses and minor children of US citizens and legal permanent residents, extended family members would no longer be permitted to the country.

The “Diversity Visa Lottery”, under which 50,000 visas are handed out annually to citizens of countries that traditionally have low rates of immigration to the US, would also be eliminated.

Senators Cotton and Perdue believe that many immigrants who enter the United States through these programmes take low-skilled employment – at the expense of American workers.

Their press release argues that the “generation-long influx of low-skilled labor has been a major factor in the downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with the wages of recent immigrants hardest hit.”

The Senators both stated that they are in favour of legal skilled employment-based immigration. However, Senator Cotton refused to be drawn on whether he believes the current H-1B visa programme should be expanded to allow more skilled workers into the US.

“There are obviously abuses of the H-1B visa program. I think those abuses need to be addressed before we even consider expanding the programme,” the Senator said.

“That said, if the evidence demonstrates that say, software companies need PhDs with computer science degrees and they’re going to pay them a wage that’s in the top 1, top 5, top 10 percent of local wages, I’m open to that kind of evidence,” he added.

The new bill is the latest in a line of recent bills introduced to the US Senate targeting limiting immigration.

Article published 10th February 2017