President Donald Trump backed the RAISE Act that would overhaul America’s immigration system, proposed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. RAISE stands for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.
This act would reduce the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. by 50 percent over the next decade and would make many more changes to the immigration system. Following are the proposals in the RAISE Act.
Number of green cards to be cut down
Currently, more than one million green cards are issued per year. But this new proposal would cut down the number of green cards issued. Only 500,000 green cards would be issued per year if the proposal is signed into an act.
Employment-based green card category to become points-based
The RAISE Act would reform the employment-based green card category and implement a “merit-based system.” This system will prioritize foreign nationals with a master’s degree and then those with a graduate degree. Likewise, it would award more points to those with strong English language skills and those between ages 26 and 31. The point based system is very similar to that adopted by Canada and Australia.
No welfare for new immigrants
This Act will make new green card holders ineligible for means-tested benefits. They will not be able to apply for any benefits during their first five years as permanent residents in the U.S.
Family based immigration priorities to be changed
Family based immigrant visa category would drastically be changed. Green card holders and U.S. citizens would still be allowed to secure permanent resident status for their husband or wife and minor children. But the parents of U.S. citizens would not be considered immediate relatives. It also proposes the elimination certain family-based immigrant visa categories.
Diversity visa program to be eliminated
Through the diversity immigrant visa program, 50,000 immigrants receive green cards every year. Those applying for a green card through this program do not need sponsorship to get green cards like the other categories.
If the RAISE Act is implemented, this program will be abolished.
Annual admission of refugees to be cut down
The number of refugees allowed to get into the U.S. would be cut down. Under this proposal, only 50,000 refugees would be allowed to come to the U.S. per year.