President Trump has actually thrown his support behind a worthwhile proposal to reduce legal immigration.
The bill, which was initially put forward by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), is called the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. The president hailed it as "the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century."
"The RAISE Act will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars," Trump said.
Here are five things you need to know about it.
1. The RAISE Act would end chain migration and the visa lottery, which would make immigration based almost entirely on working ability. Chain migration is the concept of immigrants being let in on the basis of family reunification rather than working skills. Under the RAISE Act, immediate family members can apply for green cards under family reunification, otherwise, immigrants would only be allowed in on the basis of a point system. Robert VerBruggen of National Review explains: (H/T: Hot Air)
That point system is a thing of beauty. Immigrants would be scored on a scale of zero to 100, though in practice it’s more like a scale of zero to 45 — someone with a perfect score would need a Nobel Prize (25 points), an Olympic medal (15), and $1.8 million invested in a business (12), for instance. More typically, potential immigrants would be scored based on their level of education, their English fluency, their age (with ten points for those 26 to 30 and zero points for those 50 and up), and the salary they’ve been offered (with 13 points for compensation at least triple the median salary of the state where the job is located, and no points for an offer less than 50 percent above the median). Importantly, if an applicant wished to bring a spouse, the spouse’s education, age, and language skills would count for 30 percent of a combined score.
Those without at least 30 points would be ineligible, and ties would be broken by (in descending order) education, language, and age. Immigrants admitted through the point system would be ineligible for welfare benefits for five years.
The visa lottery provided 55,000 visas at random to those in "underrepresented countries" every year, per CBS News. With the end of chain migration and the visa lottery, America's immigration system would be back to how it was prior to the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act: an emphasis on working ability.
2. The result of this change would be a reduction in immigration levels by around 50%. According to The Washington Examiner, the bill would cause legal immigration to decline from one million per year to 500,000 to 600,000 per year in ten years, which would be at "historical norms." Refugees would also be capped at 50,000 per year.
3. Immigrants would be prevented from obtaining welfare under the RAISE Act. This is a common-sense move since immigrants shouldn't be a drain on American taxpayers and need to prove they can provide working skills to the American economy. A White House fact sheet stated that around "50 percent of immigrant households receive welfare benefits, while 30 percent of nonimmigrant households receive government subsidies."
4. There is some mixed polling data as to whether the bill would be popular. Allahpundit argues:
And even so, per a Qunnipiac poll taken last year, 89 percent(!) say legal immigration is a “good thing.” When Gallup asked last year if immigration should be increased, decreased, or kept at its present level, 59 percent said “increased” or “present level” versus just 38 percent who said “decreased.”
On the other hand:
Additionally, in his 2015 book Plunder and Deceit, Mark Levin highlighted the following polling data:
The American people are broadly opposed to these immigration policies. According to The Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans want to restrict and control immigration rates – 72 percent of whites, 66 percent of blacks, and 59 percent of Hispanics. Gallup reports that by two to one, Americans want immigration levels reduced and Reuters that by nearly three to one, Americans want immigration levels reduced.
5. It seems unlikely that such a bill would pass the Senate. Allahpundit notes that numerous "pro-immigration Republicans like Jeff Flake" would come out against the bill, so more than likely the bill won't even muster a majority vote if it gets to the floor of the Senate. If nothing else, it helps get the conversation going on the matter and exposes the Republicans who are opposed to legitimate immigration reform.