Trump and Cotton to reveal bill restricting legal immigration today

Trump Tries to Cut Legal Immigration by Half
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03 August, 2017

President Donald Trump will join two leading Republican senators at the White House on Wednesday to formally introduce a bill that would slash legal immigration levels in half and implement a merit-based system for potential migrants, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. Contrary to the xenophobic and misguided stereotypes that belie the RAISE Act, immigrants contribute immensely to our economy, create jobs for all Americans, and increase safety in our communities.

Perdue and Cotton's legislation would replace the current process for obtaining legal permanent residency, or green cards, creating a skills-based point system for employment visas.

The (National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) report assembles research from 14 leading economists, demographers and other scholars, including some, like Marta Tienda of Princeton, who write favorably about the impacts of immigration and others who are skeptical of its benefits, like George J. Borjas, a Harvard economist.

The measure prioritizes immediate family members of USA residents, including spouses and minor children, but would end preferences for extended family members and adult children.

The legislation has already received significant support from White House officials such as senior adviser Stephen Miller, who helped Cotton and Perdue craft the bill, and chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has long decried legal immigration levels and argued that an influx of Asian immigrants has overwhelmed America's schools and technology sector. Immigrants admitted through the point system would be ineligible for welfare benefits for five years.

The updated RAISE Act, which has also been reported by the Washington Examiner, moves the focus of Trump's immigration agenda from cracking down on illegal immigration to reducing the number and types of people allowed to immigrate.

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"The bottom line is to cut immigration by half a million people, legal immigration, doesn't make much sense", said Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of NY, who called it a "nonstarter".

"Cotton says the number of green cards awarded each year - about a million - is excessive".

Slashing legal immigration is a key feature of legislation Cotton-Perdue bill, but many pro-immigration Republicans like Jeb Bush have suggested similar changes, but without an overall reduction in immigration. The level is now higher than at most periods in USA history. The potentially controversial legislation would dramatically tilt American immigration law towards a more merit-based system.

By contrast, the US took in an average of about 1.1 million legal immigrants annually from 2000 to 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The current system, Trump said, "has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, to our workers".

Limiting legal immigration is opposed by business groups, which rely on low-skilled workers for agriculture and other jobs.

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