U.S. ALERT – New Bill Seeks to Limit Legal Immigration & Abolish Diversity Lottery

RAISE Act Seeks to Limit Legal Immigration, Abolish Diversity Lottery

On August 2, 2017, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), with the backing of President Donald Trump[1], 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 program;
  • 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 caretaking;
  • 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 Judiciary.

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/02/president-donald-j-trump-backs-raise-act

[2] https://www.perdue.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senators-perdue-cotton-introduce-the-reforming-american-immigration-for-a-strong-economy-act

[3] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/354