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  by  Roy Beck

The BREAK THE CHAINS campaign has begun!

This morning, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) announced that he will introduce legislation next week that would end ALL categories of Chain Migration -- and the Visa Lottery, too.

Chain Migration is the main reason that American workers have had to compete for wages and jobs with tens of millions of new immigrants who have been given lifetime work permits the last several decades.

40% IMMEDIATE REDUCTION IN ANNUAL IMMIGRATION

 
Sen. Cotton says his bill would reduce the number of lifetime work permits given to foreign citizens by around 40% the first year -- and by around 50% in the tenth year after passage.

Ending Chain Migration is the primary way the bill would achieve that goal.

For several decades, immigrants no longer have been limited to bringing in a spouse and minor children. Chain Migration categories allow each immigrant (once a citizen) to petition for adult brothers and sisters, for adult sons and daughters, and for parents. Each of them can in turn do the same along with bringing their own spouses who can start whole new chains in their own families, and so forth in a never-ending pattern.

Sen. Cotton would stop all of that immigration which adds millions of workers each decade without any regard to their skills or how they would affect Americans competing in the same occupations.  

By limiting family immigration to a spouse and minor children -- including overseas adoptions and marriages by U.S. citizens -- Sen. Cotton says the bill would . . .

" . . . restore historical levels of immigration in order to give working Americans a fair shot at wealth creation."

At around one million a year since 1990, overall annual legal immigration has been some THREE times higher than the historical average before then. 

A RARE OPPORTUNITY

 
Sen. Cotton's bill will be the first since 1996 to challenge the Senate to eliminate future Chain Migration.

It was in 1996 that we started NumbersUSA with our Number One legislative goal being to end Chain Migration, as recommended by the bi-partisan federal commission chaired by the Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan.

Sen. Cotton has boldly indicated today that he will assume the leadership to advance that vision of an immigration policy that first serves the interests of our national community's workers, especially its most vulnerable. 

This year represents a rare opportunity.  It is the first time in nearly a hundred years that there is a President in the White House who has declared his intention to reduce the overall numerical level of immigration.

THE PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED

 
Sen. Cotton is titling his bill the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.

Its initials spell RAISE. It's the RAISE bill. Sen. Cotton wants to give hard-pressed American workers a raise by allowing labor markets to begin to tighten.

Sen. Cotton described the problem his bill is attempting to address:   

  • For over a quarter century, the United States has accepted an average of 1 million immigrants annually—the equivalent of adding the entire state of Montana each year.
     
  • When only 1 out of every 15 immigrants arrives in the United States on a skills-based visa, the majority of the remaining immigrants are either low-skill or unskilled.
     
  • This generation-long influx of low-skilled labor has been a major factor in the downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with the wages of recent immigrants hardest hit.
     
  • Wages for Americans with only high school diplomas have declined by 2 percent since the late 1970s, and for those who didn’t finish high school, they have declined by nearly 20 percent. This collapse in wages threatens to create a near permanent underclass for whom the American Dream is always just out of reach. 

THE 'RAISE' SOLUTION

 
Sen. Cotton describes the key elements of his bill like this:

Eliminate Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery: The Lottery is plagued with fraud, it advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and it does not even deliver the diversity of its namesake. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery. 

Place Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees: The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average. (This is the same annual refugee cap in Pres. Trump's executive order. It is also the cap recommended in the 1980 Refugee Act, which is current law but which Presidents have routinely exceeded.)

Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Eliminated would be green card categories for foreign citizens who are:

  • Adult parents of U.S. citizens
  • Adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried adult sons & daughters of U.S. citizens 
  • Married adult sons & daughters of U.S. citizens 
  • Unmarried adult sons & daughters of legal permanent residents 

Create Temporary Visa for Parents in Need of Caretaking: For U.S. citizens who wish to bring elderly parents in need of care-taking to the United States, the RAISE Act creates a renewable temporary visa on the condition that the parents are not permitted to work, cannot access public benefits, and must be guaranteed support and health insurance by their sponsoring children. 

The difference in this being a wonderful bill and it being an incredibly helpful law is likely to be the degree to which the 8 million members of NumbersUSA's online grassroots army make it clear to their Members of Congress and to Pres. Trump that this is a TRUE PRIORITY.

ROY BECK is the Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Mar 24th 2017 @ 9:35am EDT

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