Senators Submit Legislation to Decrease Total Immigration

On Tuesday, Senators Tom Cotton and David Purdue introduced their bill that would end chain migration and the diversity lottery in order to make immigration less harmful to American citizens. As America’s Senator Jeff Sessions has declared, “Immigration should serve the national interest.”

The two senators held a press conference to discuss the legislation. The initial description given by Senator Cotton was direct and well presented:

SENATOR TOM COTTON: Senator Purdue and I are unveiling what we’ve named the RAISE Act which stands for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment. The title should give you an idea of why we’re offering this bill. Over the last 40 years we’ve seen a huge increase in immigration. As you can see in this first chart, in the past 25 years alone we’re running an average of one million immigrants per year which is far above historical norm. It’s like adding the population of Montana every year or the population of Arkansas every three years.

As the second chart shows, only one out of every 15 immigrants is coming here for employment reasons. If we really needed all of these people because of their skills, because they help the economy grow, they be coming here on say, an EB-1 or an EB-2 visa, but they’re not. Instead we let them in without consideration of our workforce’s needs. Put those two together and what do you get?

A sharp decline in wages for working Americans, as you can see here. Those with college and professional degrees are doing just fine but those with a high school diploma have seen their wages fall by two percent since 1979 and for those without one, it’s 17 percent. Now, is automation a factor? Is globalization? Sure, but there’s no denying this generation-long surge in low-skilled immigration has hurt blue-collar wages. It’s pulling the rug out from underneath them and unless we reverse this trend, we’re going to create a near-permanent underclass for whom the American Dream is always just out of reach.

Senator Purdue and I think it’s time for our immigration system to start working for American workers. The RAISE Act would help increase wages by returning immigration levels to their historical norms and rebalancing the system toward merit-based immigration. There are three main parts of the bill.

First, we reprioritize immediate family members: we keep immigration preferences for spouses and unmarried minor children of citizens and green card holders but eliminate them for extended relatives like parents, adult siblings and adult children. Second, we eliminate the 50,000 visas and the diversity lottery which is rampant with fraud provides no discernible economic for humanitarian benefits and doesn’t even promote diversity. Third, we limit the number of green cards offered to refugees to 50,000 per year which is in line with historical averages under Presidents Bush and Obama and consistent with President Trump’s recent guidance.

The net effect will be the cut annual immigration in half from 1,000,000 to 500,000 green cards per year. This approach is broadly consistent with past reform measures and it would begin to move us towards a more merit-based system like Canada and Australia have. Most important, it would promote higher wages on which working Americans can build a future whether your family came over on the Mayflower or whether you just took the oath of citizenship.


Legal immigration has been Ted Kennedy’s evil legacy to America: based on family ties, the policy has multiplied the numbers of foreigners to the point where today more than 43 million immigrants reside here. Unskilled third-worlders have created ethnic barrios where English is rarely spoken. Miami — once a standard US city before criminal Cubans were welcomed by Jimmy Carter in the disastrous Mariel Boatlift — is now called the “capital of Latin America.” Much of California has been similarly diversified via legal and illegal immigration.

Immigration to the United States has grown explosively for decades, now accounting for 1.5 million entrants annually. There is no need for masses of additional workers in today’s economy, with automation increasingly performing jobs once done by humans.

The RAISE Act is aimed at helping US workers, but trimming total immigration would have many benefits indeed. NumbersUSA is enthusiastic and urges concerned citizens to contact their elected representatives to voice support.

Here’s the press release from Senator Cotton’s office about the legislation:

Cotton, Perdue Unveil the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, February 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) today unveiled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, legislation that will help raise American workers’ wages by restoring legal immigration levels to their historical norms and rebalancing the system toward employment-based visas and immediate-family household members. The RAISE Act would lower overall immigration to 637,960 in its first year and to 539,958 by its tenth year-a 50 percent reduction from the 1,051,031 immigrants who arrived in 2015.

“It’s time our immigration system started working for American workers,” said Senator Cotton.”The RAISE Act would promote higher wages on which all working Americans can build a future-whether your family came over here on the Mayflower or you just took the oath of citizenship.”

“We are taking action to fix some of the shortcomings in our legal immigration system,” said Senator Perdue. “Returning to our historically normal levels of legal immigration will help improve the quality of American jobs and wages.”

Specifically, the RAISE Act would:
Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.
Eliminate Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Lottery is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and does not even deliver the diversity of its namesake. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.
Place Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees. The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average.

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