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President Trump Endorses New Immigration Bill Calling for Merit-based System

President Trump has endorsed a new bill that will cut current immigration levels by 50 percent over a 10-year period. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act) was introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.). It is a modified version of a bill introduced in April that sought to cut the current level of green cards awarded per year in half.

The President believes that the rapid growth of immigration over the past half century has harmed job opportunities for American workers and led to risks to national security. The RAISE Act seeks to raise wages for American workers by reducing the overall levels of immigration and rebalancing the system toward employment-based visas and immediate family households. The Act will replace long-standing immigration policies favoring family reunification and implement a merit-based system. Green card applicants will be awarded points based on such factors as the ability to speak English, education levels and job skills.

Here is what you need to know. The RAISE Act will reduce the overall immigration levels by 41 percent in its first year and 50 percent by year 10. It will also:

  • Prioritize immediate family households by eliminating preference categories for extended and adult family members. The RAISE Act will retain immigration preference for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, but will exclude adult parents, adult siblings, unmarried adult children and married adult children;
  • Create temporary visas for parents in need of caretaking. The Act creates a temporary visa for elderly parents in need of medical services. The elderly parent will not be permitted to work, will not have access to public benefits, and must be guaranteed support and health insurance by their sponsoring children;
  • Prevent new immigrants from collecting welfare;
  • Eliminate the 50,000 visas awarded in the diversity visa lottery; and
  • Place a 50,000 annual limit on the number of refugees granted permanent residency.

If passed, this will mark the biggest change to the U.S. immigration system in 50 years. It is still, however, just a bill, which means it needs to pass in both the House and the Senate before becoming law. The legislation is expected to face heavy resistance from congressional Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Berardi Immigration Law is committed to providing our clients with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. Please be sure to keep following our blog for more updates on this matter.