Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Trump Endorses Proposed Immigration Changes: Policy or Political Theater?

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz
On August 2 President Trump announced his support for a bill introduced into the Senate by Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act. (Following a recent Congressional tradition, the title is chosen to produce a misleading acronym, in this case “RAISE,” falsely implying that the law would somehow push U.S. wages up.) Contrary to confused reporting in much of the media, most serious analysts think the bill will never be passed. If enacted, it would drastically reduce visas for family members of citizens, but it would have little effect on employment visas.

The New York Times editorial board correctly remarked that “[t]he only way to understand Mr. Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.—TPOI editor

RAISE Act Effects Both Bigger and Smaller than Billed, New MPI Analysis Finds

From Migration Policy Institute Letter
August 4, 2017
The RAISE Act, introduced this week by two Republican senators and endorsed by President Trump, has gotten major media and public attention even as its chances for approval by Congress appear scant. Still, the ideas at the heart of the legislation seem likely to surface in future discussion over reform of the U.S. immigration system.

A new Migration Policy Institute commentary analyzes the two major proposals in the legislation: Deep cuts to family-based immigration and the creation of a points system for the selection of immigrants coming via employer sponsorship.

Analysis suggests the family-based cuts would fall hardest on U.S. residents seeking to bring in relatives from a small number of countries, India and Vietnam among them. While much attention has focused on the proposed points system and the sponsors’ promise of “merit-based” immigration, in reality the legislation would change employment-based immigration less than some might anticipate. The points system would largely echo the existing preference for higher-educated, higher-paid workers or for investors, and for those already in the United States on a temporary basis.

“As a whole, the implications of the RAISE Act may be both bigger and smaller than promised by its sponsors,” writes MPI Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt.[…]

Read the analysis:

Trump Embraces a Senseless Immigration Proposal

By the Editorial Board, New York Times
August 7, 2017
President Trump has endorsed legislation that would slash legal immigration by half, mainly by cutting the number of visas granted to relatives of citizens, while favoring people who speak English and have advanced degrees. The bill, which would do nothing to solve the country’s immigration and economic challenges, is unlikely to become law. The only way to understand Mr. Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.

The bill was introduced by two Republican senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who say it will protect American workers from competition from low-skilled foreign workers.[…]

Read the full editorial:

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