WILL THE RAISE ACT PASS?
The legislation seeks to limit legal immigration by only allowing U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their spouses, and unmarried children under 21. The other categories that allow U.S. Citizens to sponsor other family members (parents, siblings, and children over 21) and legal permanent residents to sponsor unmarried children over 21 will be eliminated.
The bill would establish a "merit-based" system to determine who gets a legal residency green card and is admitted into the country. It favors job skills and education of foreigners over family ties.
But will the RAISE bill pass? It seems unlikely -- it will need 60 votes from the Senate to pass. However, Republicans only have 52 votes, and that's if all Republicans vote for it.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina has already released a statement saying that it will be "devastating" to his state's economy.
“South Carolina’s agriculture and tourism industry advertise for American workers and want to fill open positions with American workers. Unfortunately, many of these advertised positions go unfilled. Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers will tell you this proposal – to cut legal immigration in half -- would put their business in peril."
The National Immigration Forum, an advocacy group, said that even with current legal immigration levels, the country was going to have a work force gap of 7.5 million jobs by 2020.
A shrinking labor force will also have a negative impact on Social Security contributions.
"The RAISE Act’s goal of reducing legal immigration is a threat to the U.S. economy and would place additional strains on the Social Security system by reducing the size of the labor force." noted a press release by The Bipartisan Policy Center. "A growing labor force—aided by immigration—not only helps to shore up Social Security’s finances, but it also results in greater demand for goods and services, contributes to economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship, creates jobs and improves the long-term U.S. economic outlook."
The bill is unlikely to get any support from Democrats.
In a statement on Wednesday, Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said, "they’re seeking to deny millions the American Dream by dramatically cutting legal immigration and limiting family reunification. Instead of catching criminals, Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy."