In an August 2, 2017 press conference, Trump unveiled his support of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which would end the Diversity Visa Program, create a skills-based immigration points system and reduce the number of family-based immigrants and refugees migrating to the U.S.
The RAISE Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), proposes a skills based immigration system that would essentially cut legal immigration to the U.S. by 50%. Trump, as part of his campaign to reduce the flow of immigrants to the U.S, argued that the path to protect American workers is by reducing unskilled workers and creating a merit-based system. Essentially, what this would mean is that the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services would have the ability to grade immigrants based on their ability and skills in deciding whether to grant authorization to work in the United States. Applicants would need to meet certain requirements to qualify in the merit-based grading system. For instance, the prospective workers would have to speak English, be judged on their median salary, their degree level, skills needed by the economy and whether or not they are able to afford their own healthcare.
Senators Cotton and Perdue argue that the RAISE Act, will “help raise American workers’ wages by restoring legal immigration levels to their historical norms and rebalancing the system toward employment-based visas and immediate-family household member.” Implementing the RAISE Act would cut back on “chain migration” or in other words, immigrating to the United Stated via a series of petitions by family members. The Act will limit family-based migration to spouses and minor children, through the elimination of sponsorship categories that exist for other family members under our current laws. In addition, the Act seeks to eliminate the international diversity visa lottery program and limit the number of annual refugee admissions.
If implemented, the RAISE Act would dramatically affect the current immigration system. The bill, Trump said, “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.”
Salas Law highly recommends immediately consulting with an attorney to determine how this Act may affect your work visa eligibility or sponsorship of your family members. Please contact an experienced Immigration Attorney in Williamson County to understand what actions you should be taking now to protect your interests.