RAISE Act Seeks to Lower Legal Immigration Levels Dramatically

February 10, 2017

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) have proposed legislation intended to grow wages and make more blue-collar jobs available to U.S. citizens by reducing annual legal immigration by half.  Titled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act), the measure specifically would terminate the diversity visa lottery program (which allots green cards to certain countries with low immigration to the U.S. through a randomized process) and remove preferences for adult and extended family members.  It would also limit permanent residency for refugees to 50,000 a year, the same number as put forward in EO 13769.  Senator Cotton said in a recent news conference, "This generation-long surge in low-skilled immigration has hurt blue-collar wages.  It's pulling the rug out from underneath them."  Other economically-oriented immigration measures introduced this Congress and written about previously have focused mostly on the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.