“Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) recently introduced a revised version of the bill addressing legal immigration into the United States, the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. It is supposed to spur economic growth and raise working Americans’ wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration by half.
Nevertheless, it will not reach the president’s desk without support from influential Democratic congressmen, which will be difficult to get and won’t be free.
According to Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the RAISE Act “and the bear hug by the Bannon/Kelly/Trump White House — betrays the deep animosity towards legal immigration that has become the central, unifying tenet of the Republican Party.”
. . . .
Suggestions for a compromise.
The main price for Gutierrez’s support would be to establish a DREAM Act program that would be based on an appropriate merit-based point system.
The number of undocumented aliens who might benefit from a dream act can range from 2.5 to 3.3 million. It isn’t likely that an agreement will be reached if Gutierrez insists on a number in that range.
Concessions have to be made to achieve an acceptable compromise, and allowing termination of the Visa Waiver Program would be a reasonable choice. An alternative would be to keep the program as is but distribute the visas on a merit point system instead of using a lottery.
The refugee provision is problematic, but the president has sole authority to determine the number of admissions and the current president supports the 50,000 cap. The Democrats will try to eliminate this cap or raise it if they can’t eliminate it, but this should not be a deal breaker if the other issues are worked out satisfactorily.
The restrictions on family-based immigration, however, are another matter. They should be modified. Cotton and Purdue doomed their bill to failure with these provisions. They hurt constituents on both sides of the aisle.
Moreover, they do not make any sense. What does national interest mean if the family-unification needs of citizens and legal permanent residents don’t count?
Some advocates strongly opposes the point system because they think it fails to take into account the needs of U.S. businesses, but their concern is based on the point criterion in the current version of the RAISE Act, which has not been subjected to any hearings or markups yet. If the senators and Gutierrez cannot work out a compromise that protects the needs of U.S. businesses, there will be plenty of time to make additional changes.
This isn’t just about moving these bills through congress. According to recent Gallup polls, “Americans view Congress relatively poorly, with job approval ratings of the institution below 30% since October 2009.”
And the current Republican-controlled congress is not turning this around. Reaching an agreement with the Democrats on an immigration reform bill that includes a DREAM Act legalization program would be a good place to start.”
Go over to The Hill at the above link to read Nolan’s complete article.