Proposed RAISE Act could create most drastic changes to US immigration laws in 50 years

Standing by a campaign promise, President Trump threw his bully pulpit behind a senate bill aimed at cutting immigration, both legal and illegal.

"This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy," Trump said.

The RAISE Act keeps the number of employment-based green cards the same, but reduces immigration based on family ties and kills a lottery that allows immigrants from underrepresented countries. More of the green cards will be based on skilled applicants.

If the RAISE Act passes, it could make the most drastic changes in the US immigration system in 50 years.

The amount of pushback over the RAISE Act is unclear right now as people on both sides of the aisle become familiar with the details in the senate bill.

supporters of the raise act say the immigration system should accomplish two things: help American workers get a pay raise, and help promote economic growth to make America more competitive in the global economy.

 

"Our current system simply doesn't do that. It's over a half century old. It is an obsolete disaster and it's time for it to change," Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said.

Much like the immigration system in Canada, the RAISE Act is more of a merit-based system, favoring immigrants who speak English and have job skills.

FOX 4 asked Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II about the proposed legislation, and while he is not familiar with senate's bill, the congressman said he is sure it has something to do with rumors that President Trump is trying to reduce the number of immigrants who come into the country.

"This is a country of immigrants and we need to celebrate the fact that this is the country we have been able to build," Cleaver said.

Authors of the bill say the RAISE Act would reduce the number of green cards issued by about half over a 10-year period.

"The president is once again trying to say something to his base because they have been led to believe that there is something wrong with immigration," Cleaver added.

FOX 4 spoke to Kansas City immigration attorney Leon Versfeld on the phone, who said the RAISE Act will hurt unskilled and seasonal workers, but will benefit highly skilled workers such as engineers from countries like India, who are now waiting 7 years to gain legal status.

"If we're gonna continue as the innovator in the world and the leader economically, it's imperative that our immigration system focus on highly skilled, permanent workers who can add value to our economy and ultimately achieve their own version of the American dream," Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said.

President Trump said the RAISE Act is part of his campaign promise to put American workers first.