RAISE Act Seeks to Limit Legal Immigration, Abolish Diversity


On August 2, 2017, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue

(R-Ga.), with the backing of President Donald Trump1, introduced the

Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act (S.

1720). The Bill would create a merit-based immigration system.

In announcing the bill, Senator Cotton stated, “We will

build an immigration system that raises working wages, creates

jobs, and gives every American a fair shot at creating wealth,

whether your family came over on the Mayflower or just took the

oath of citizenship.” Senator Perdue said the Act “will

create a skills-based system that is more responsive to the needs

of our economy and preserves the quality of jobs available to

American workers.”2

Provisions in the Act include:

  • Eliminating the Diversity Visa


  • Capping the number of refugees

    granted permanent visas to the U.S. at 50,000 per year;

  • Maintaining immigration preferences

    for the spouses and minor children of U.S. residents, but

    eliminating visa preferences for extended family and grown adult

    family members of U.S. residents;

  • Creating a temporary visa for the

    elderly parents of U.S. residents to come to the U.S. for


  • Replacing the current

    employment-based immigration system with an immigration points

    system based on education, English-language ability, high-paying

    job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and

    entrepreneurial initiative; and

  • Conditioning naturalization on the

    sponsors of an immigrant fulfilling their obligation to reimburse

    the federal government for benefits used by the immigrant (required

    under current law).3

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the









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