On August 2, President Trump expressed support for the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, introduced by Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. The intent behind this proposed legislation is to reduce legal immigration to the United States by:
1) Eliminating the Diversity Visa Program, a program through which visas have been issued to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States;
2) Capping the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year to 50,000; and
3) Restricting family-based visas to only spouses and minor children of green card holders.
The RAISE Act operates on a “merit-based system” that prioritizes visa applicants with job skills who are able to speak English and have the means to support themselves financially upon arrival in the United States.
In order for the RAISE Act to become law, it must be passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the president. The bill is expected to face strong opposition from Democrats in the Senate where Republicans hold a slim majority. To overcome a filibuster by opponents, the bill will need to garner at least 60 votes.