While the bill has been introduced into committee, it is still far away from becoming a law. But as we have seen by recent events in the United States, many things can happen with one election.
This is an immigration curtailment measure, and will stem the flow of less-educated people if they are not wealthy. It will also reduce the ability for families to rejoin in the U.S. without further merit.
The RAISE Act would cut the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. each year without a realistic connection to family reunification or the economic needs of our nation.
This bill acts on the false assumption that legal immigration is harmful to our country, when on the contrary strong family unities contribute to helping build a stronger economy.
All family-based legal immigration categories would be eliminated except for spouses and children (under the age of 18) of U.S citizens and permanent residents. The act would only create a renewable temporary visa for older-adult parents who come for care-taking purposes.
Eliminating immigration categories for extended family and grown adult family members is extremely unfair to those who have already followed the rules and applied for an immigrant visa.
Those individuals have been waiting for years to receive a green card due to a visa backlog to reunite with their family in the U.S. Luckily, there is still time to file for family members, and most likely any applications that have already been filed will be grandfathered.
The new point-based system would not take into consideration the needs of U.S. employers, and U.S. companies would not be able to access foreign workers in order to grow their companies.
The act would only focus on a strict point-based system and completely ignore considerations such as one’s fieldwork and special skills when granting a nonimmigrant visa.
This point system would grant legal residency green cards based on skills, education, and language ability. President Trump believes that this new system will help struggling American families and put their needs first, but he has yet to provide empirical data or substantial evidence to support this belief.
The RAISE Act would remove lower-skilled immigrants from the U.S. immigration system, which would have an adverse effect on the economy. High-skilled immigrants who are admitted based on their education and work experience, but without a job offer, may be forced to take low-skilled jobs that Americans now will take, but are less qualified to do.
Moreover, if the act becomes law it may result in labor shortages, specifically in lower-wage jobs that many Americans do not want.
Important immigrant visa programs such as the EB-5 immigrant investor program, the special immigrant religious workers program, and the physician national interest waiver green card program would no longer exist.
The number of refugees who will be allowed to be admitted into the U.S. will also decrease to 50,000 a year. The RAISE Act will do away with the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which will reduce immigration from Africa, Asia and many other countries because the sponsors of the bill do not think the program promotes diversity.
The position of this act and the rhetoric that President Trump espouses regarding immigration are unrealistic and malfeasant in an already troubled immigration system. The system does need to be overhauled and improved for sure, but not in a manner that will strip the United States of the very characteristic that makes us great.
Our resilient and inclusive diversity that promotes the ethos that every man, woman, and child can come from any place in the world and succeed in America and make the United States a happier, stronger, and safer place.
Dev Banad Viswanath and Michael Phulwani are attorneys with The Banad Law Offices.