Will the Future of Immigration to the U.S. be an Impossibility?
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his administration had been working on a plan with members of Congress to cut legal immigration into the U.S. On August 2, President Trump, flanked by the conservative senators responsible for crafting the plan, declared his support for Senate Bill S. 1720 – Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, also known as the “RAISE Act.”
This proposed bill aims to revamp the current immigration system by:
- instituting a skills-based point system;
- limiting the family members who can be sponsored by U.S. citizens and permanent residents and redefining the term “child” to mean an unmarried person less than 18 years of age.
- eliminating the Diversity “Lottery” Immigrant Visa program; and
- reducing the number of refugees who can be admitted into the U.S. every year.
In addition to Nobel laureates and Olympic stars, the skills-based point system will benefit those who are English speaking persons who fit into one of two categories: 1) people in their mid to late twenties with a high level of education in a STEM field or who hold a professional degree; or 2) rich older people with a moderate degree of education who will invest their millions in the U.S. and intend on taking an active role in directing that investment. In terms of ranking within this point system, the highest value is placed on education, then one’s proficiency in the English language, and, finally, age.
With the elimination of the Diversity “Lottery” Immigrant Visa program, the limiting of family relationships, and redefining those considered to be children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, this proposed legislation raises the bar for many people who wish to qualify for an immigrant visa to the U.S.; under the RAISE Act, such individuals will be subject to the skills-based point system. As such, the act would make it virtually impossible for certain world populations to immigrate to the United States.
Statistics point to the positive economic impact immigrants have on local U.S. communities. Yet, we are in a time where consular officers and border agents have been emboldened to arbitrarily disallow people to travel and be admitted to the U.S. as the Trump administration continues to insulate the United States from the rest of the world with its protectionist rhetoric.
This bill, if enacted, will make the U.S. less attractive both as a place for business investment and a place to be educated thereby having the effect of repositioning the U.S. on the world stage and weakening its economic position.
It is one thing to focus on curbing illegal immigration, but to cut legal immigration in half raises the bar to insurmountable heights.
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