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Immigration Law

Senators Cotton & Perdue Flank Pres. Trump in Introducing 'Merit-Based' Immigration Bill

Washington Post, Aug. 2, 2017 - "President Trump on Wednesday endorsed a new bill in the Senate aimed at slashing legal immigration levels over a decade, a goal Trump endorsed on the campaign trail that would represent a profound change to U.S. immigration policies that have been in place for half a century.  Trump appeared with Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) at the White House to unveil a modified version of a bill the senators first introduced in April to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million green cards per year granting foreigners permanent legal residence in the United States. ... Opponents of slashing immigration levels said immigrants help boost the economy and that studies have shown they commit crimes at lower levels than do native-born Americans.  “This is just a fundamental restructuring of our immigration system which has huge implications for the future,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy for the Center for Migration Studies.  “This is part of a broader strategy by this administration to rid the country of low-skilled immigrants they don't favor in favor of immigrants in their image.” ... Other critics said the Raise Act, which maintains the annual cap for employment-based green cards at the current level of 140,00, would not increase skilled immigration and could make it more difficult for employers to hire the workers they need.  And they noted that Canada and Australia admit more than twice the number of immigrants to their countries as the United States does currently when judged as a percentage of their overall population levels.  "Just because you have a PhD doesn't mean you're necessarily more valuable to the U.S. economy," said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy.  "The best indication of whether a person is employable is if someone wants to hire them." Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the CATO Institute, wrote in a blog that the bill "would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards.  Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing." "

Elise Foley, HuffPo, Aug. 2, 2017 - "Most economists say that immigration is actually beneficial to the economy and that curtailing legal immigration would slow growth.  And Canada and Australia both admit legal immigrants at a far higher rate relative to their total populations than the U.S. does, including on the basis of family ties.  Trump also claimed that the current immigration “has not been fair to our people,” including immigrants and minority workers whose jobs, he said, are taken by “brand new arrivals.”  In fact, the bill could disproportionately affect nonwhite Americans, who are more likely to be recent immigrants and still have relatives living abroad, by making the already difficult process of bringing their families to the U.S. next to impossible. ... Immigration reform groups and even one Republican senator immediately panned the bill.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who pushed for a broad immigration reform bill in 2013, said in a statement that he supports merit-based immigration but believes cutting legal immigration would hurt the economy.  “I fear this proposal will not only hurt our agriculture, tourism and service economy in South Carolina, it incentivizes more illegal immigration as positions go unfilled,” he said.  “After dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.” "