The RAISE Act was introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.). The bill would eliminate the family chain migration green card categories and the visa lottery and transform the current employment-based system to a merit-based system, potentially reducing legal immigration by 50% over 10 years. The bill earned the endorsement of Pres. Donald Trump who praised the bill's introduction at a White House event.
"For decades, the United States was operated and has operated a very low-skilled immigration system, issuing record numbers of Green Cards to low-wage immigrants. This policy has placed substantial pressure on American workers, taxpayers and community resources. Among those hit the hardest in recent years have been immigrants and, very importantly, minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals. And it has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, to our workers.
"The RAISE Act ends chain migration, and replaces our low-skilled system with a new points-based system for receiving a Green Card. 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."
-- President Donald Trump, August 2, 2017
The RAISE Act would:
Eliminate Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery: The Lottery is plagued with fraud, it advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and it does not even deliver the diversity of its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.