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How a Trump-backed GOP proposal would dramatically alter the state of legal immigration

by AirTalk®

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A Colombian immigrant swears to tell the truth before taking her oral citizenship test at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. John Moore/Getty Images

While much of the talk on Trump's immigration policy surrounds illegal immigration, the president and two Republican senators are announcing their support for legislation that could drastically decrease legal immigration in the next ten years.

The proposal is a revised version of the RAISE Act, which Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and David Perdue (Georgia) first presented in February. The White House has worked closely with the two senators over the past several months to expand the original legislation, and Trump endorsed the proposal at an event with Cotton and Perdue today.

Ending the current legal preference for family unity in immigration, the new law would instead operate on a point-based system for awarding green cards or permanent residency. Factors considered would include the ability to speak English and financial well-being. Preference would be given to highly-skilled workers. Immigration groups such as NumbersUSA have praised the legislation, as it would decrease immigration levels, while immigration advocates argue that it will slow the influx of younger workers most important to the US economy.

What are the upsides to a merit-based immigration system? What value should be placed on skill as opposed to family unity?


Chris Chmielenski, director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, an immigration-reduction organization based in Arlington, VA; he tweets at @cchmielenski

Megan Essaheb, Assistant Director of Immigration and Immigrant Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC; she tweets @meganessaheb

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