The RAISE Act – Proposed Bill in the Senate
On February 13, 2017, the RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) was introduced in the Senate. In August, 2017, President Trump publicly backed a new, modified version the bill.
The RAISE Act proposes a number of changes to current immigration policy. You can find a more detailed description of the adjustments here. Below is a summary of some of the key provisions.
First, the RAISE Act would reduce the number of legal permanent resident immigrants by 50% over the next 10 years.
The RAISE Act would also change the current visa application system, turning it into a “merit-based” immigration system. The RAISE Act would institute a points-based system considering different factors, such age, education, and English-language ability. This type of system is used in Canada and Australia.
Additionally, the RAISE Act would alter the current preference system set up for family-based immigration. It would eliminate the preference for the extended and adult family members of U.S. residents. Preference would continue to be given to spouses and children under the age of 18.
Currently, there is a diversity visa program that provides visas for a certain number of immigrants who lack family or employment-based immigration options. Out of the millions of people that apply to the lottery system, 50,000 are chosen and granted visas. The RAISE Act would eliminate this program.
The RAISE Act would also cut the number of refugees allowed annually from 110,000 to 50,000.
The RAISE Act does not, however, make any changes to seasonal visas for guest workers.
To become law, the RAISE Act will have to be passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. During the review process, changes may be made to the bill. If both the Senate and the House pass the RAISE Act, President Trump can then sign the final version into law.