I FULLY SUPPORT SENATOR TOM COTTON'S BILL; I VOTE YEA!
S. 354: RAISE Act
Amid all the discussion and debate about whether and how to combat undocumented immigrants, some senators have proposed significantly reducing several rarely-discussed provisions of U.S. policy that encourage legal immigration. In addition to directly affecting millions of legal residents, this bill could affect the entire U.S. economy and demographic structure. This could give it a greater, albeit less quotable, impact than “Build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.”
What the bill does
Introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, labeled S. 354, would institute several major changes to the American immigration system. Among them:
• Ending the Diversity Visa Program. The program run by the State Department grants an additional 50,000 legal permanent resident visas each year from countries with low rates of U.S. immigration. Competition is fierce, with 9.3 million applicants in 2015, for an 0.3 percent acceptance rate.
• Reduce the number of family-sponsored immigrants. Currently, U.S. citizens and permanent residents can “sponsor” other family members for citizenships, such as adult children, parents, siblings, and fiancé. The bill would retain only two categories for sponsorship: spouses and unmarried minor children.
• Limit U.S. acceptance of refugees. The number of refugees around the world offered U.S. permanent residency would be capped at 50,000. Last year the U.S. accepted 84,995 refugees, led by those from Congo, Syria, Burma, and Iraq. The last year in which the U.S. accepted fewer than 50,000 refugees was 2007.
What supporters say
Supporters argue the bill adds a needed bulwark against foreigners who depress American jobs and wages.
“It’s time our immigration system started working for American workers,” Senate lead sponsor Cotton said in a press release. “The RAISE Act would promote higher wages on which all working Americans can build a future-whether your family came over here on the Mayflower or you just took the oath of citizenship.”
“This policy would resemble the immigration systems of Canada and Australia, countries with similar advanced economies,” Cotton wrote in aNew York Times op-ed. “While our system gives priority to reuniting extended families and low-skilled labor, their systems prize nuclear-family reunification and attributes like language skills, education and work experience.”
Cotton’s press release claimed the bill would decrease legal immigrants by 39.3 percent in its first year, and 48.6 percent in its first decade. Those estimates should be taken with a grain of salt since they did come from the bill’s sponsor, though there’s no doubt the bill would decrease legal immigration by some number.
What opponents say
Opponents call the bill a nativist and xenophobic attempt to keep out foreigners, including many who would benefit the U.S. Of course, most Democrats oppose it, but skepticism also comes from more conservative quarters.
“Cutting legal immigration won’t help low-skilled workers,” conservative Alex Nowrasteh wrote for the Cato Institute. “
A recent paper by economists Michael Clemens, Ethan Lewis, and Hannah Postel seems tailor-made to test what would happen if a bill like the RAISE Act were to become law…. Senators Cotton and Perdue will be disappointed to discover that this new research found that ending lower-skilled migration for farm workers had little measurable effect on the labor market for Americans who worked in those occupations.”
Referring to a similar bill that passed in 1964 and affected the farm industry, Nowrasteh writes, “Instead of hiring more American workers or raising their wages, farmers turned to machines and altered the crops they planted to take account of the new dearth of workers. Instead of planting crops that required labor-intensive harvesting or care, they planted other crops that required many fewer workers.”
Odds of passage
The bill, labelled S. 354 in the Senate, has attracted one cosponsor so far: Sen. David Purdue (R-GA). It awaits a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Last updated Mar 13, 2017.
NumbersUSA Activist Calls on Congress to Pass RAISE Act in Op-ed
Published: Mon, Mar 13th 2017 @ 2:26 pm EDT
NumbersUSA activist Deena Flinchum has written an op-ed urging Congress to pass Sen. Tom Cotton's RAISE Act that would end chain migration and the visa lottery and cap the refugee resettlement program at 50,000 per year.
Finchum is an information technology worker who was employed by the AFL-CIO for 25 years before retiring. She is now a community volunteer in southwest Virginia. Her op-ed appeared in the Virginian-Pilot and can be found by clicking here:
The Senate could soon vote to give millions of Americans their biggest pay-raise in decades.
The proposal isn’t a minimum wage hike or a tax cut. Rather, it’s a bill that would reduce legal immigration by half. The reform would turbocharge wage growth and open up new job opportunities for working-class Americans.
Sen. Tom Cotton’s RAISE Act would reduce family-sponsored visas by eliminating categories that allow for the immigration of extended family members. In plain terms, most recent immigrants would no longer be able to secure green cards granting lifetime residency and work privileges for their siblings or adult children. They would still be able to bring over their minor children and spouses, of course.
The proposed law would also cap refugee admittances at a compassionate but sustainable 50,000 per year — roughly the average annual intake from 2001 to 2010. Additionally, it would end the “visa lottery” — a fraud-plagued program that awards green cards at random to over 50,000 lucky foreigners each year.
Analysts predict that these changes will reduce legal immigration by 40 percent the first year and 50 percent over a decade.
Why is this a good thing for American workers? Simple. Most of the people who arrive on family-sponsored, refugee, and lottery visas have limited skill-sets. Nearly 30 percent of foreign-born adults lack a high-school degree compared to just 9 percent of native-born Americans.
As a result, these new arrivals — most of whom are law-abiding and hardworking — gravitate to blue collar or service-sector jobs. According to the latest figures from the Department of Homeland Security, less than 13 percent of immigrants with family-sponsored visas work in management or professional occupations.
Offshoring and automation have wiped out millions of low and medium-wage jobs. Almost 2 million Americans have been out of work for six months or more. Importing hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers to compete with these struggling Americans only holds down wages.
When a country increases the size of a skill group by 10 percent through immigration, wages fall by about 4 percent in that skill group. Wages have been stagnant, especially for low-skill workers, for decades. Hourly wages have scarcely budged since the 1960s once inflation is accounted for.
America should not bring in more low-skilled foreigners when its own lesser-skilled workers cannot find decent jobs. This isn’t about hostility to immigrants. It’s about a deep concern for the citizens of our own country who struggle to make ends meet but who can make little headway in a bulging labor market.
The RAISE Act wouldn’t completely solve this oversupply of low-skilled labor. The proposed law doesn’t address illegal immigration at all. Nor would it eliminate the tens of thousands of temporary, nonagricultural work visas given to foreigners who toil as line cooks, construction workers, and housekeeping staff — jobs that unemployed Americans would thrive in.
Due to an overabundance of laborers, working-class Americans haven’t seen a substantial pay bump in decades. It’s time for a RAISE.