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White House Unveils Reforms to Slash Legal Immigration Levels

White House Unveils Reforms to Slash Legal Immigration Levels

Plus, if they can get the bill on the floor, doubtless a bunch of pro-immigration Republicans like Jeff Flake will join with Democrats in opposing it, giving Trump and Steve Bannon new ammo against the "globalist" GOP establishment.

President Donald Trump announced his support Wednesday for legislation that would cut in half the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States while moving to a "merit-based" system of entry.

First time politician Trump beat back 16 other Republican challengers over nine gruelling months of campaigning with his single minded devotion to beating back low grade immigration. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who introduced an early version of the legislation in February.

The White House said the RAISE Act is "aimed at creating a skills-based immigration system that will make America more competitive, raise wages for American workers, and create jobs".

The president has made cracking down on illegal immigration a hallmark of his administration and has tried to slash federal grants for cities that refuse to comply with federal efforts to detain and deport those living in the country illegally. Contrary to the xenophobic and misguided stereotypes that belie the RAISE Act, immigrants contribute immensely to our economy, create jobs for all Americans, and increase safety in our communities.

The legislation also proposed to limit green cards to 50,000 refugees a year, which is in line with the 13-year average.

Immigration restrictionists were elated over the re-introduction of the RAISE Act, noting that it would limit "immigration rights" to immediate family members like spouses and children. The Trump Organization has asked for dozens of H-2B visas for foreign workers at two of Trump's private clubs in Florida, including his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The RAISE Act, which Cotton and Perdue introduced in February, would scrap the current lottery system to get into the USA and instead institute a points-based system for earning a green card.

But the Senate has largely ignored the measure, with no other lawmaker signing on as a co-sponsor. GOP leaders have showed no inclination to vote on immigration this year.

Trump has long said he wants to reform the nation's immigration system, but any plan to do that seems like less of a priority for an administration that is now focused on health care, tax reform and a host of global issues. It would implement a points-based system for awarding lawful permanent residency, or green cards.

But the president is mischaracterizing numerous immigrants coming to the United States as low-skilled and dependent on government aid. The level is now higher than at most periods in USA history.

The wrinkle, though, is that the Cotton/Perdue aims to reduce legal immigration as a goal in itself, not just as an expected side effect of giving preference to immigrants with more valuable skills. Cotton said of the current system.

Trump has also been reluctant to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, started by President Barack Obama, which provides work authorizations to immigrants brought to the US illegally as children.

Some immigrant advocates have criticized the proposal, saying that slashing legal immigration would hurt industries like agriculture and harm the economy.

Cotton and Perdue's bill, however, has already been widely praised by anti-immigration groups, including NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

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