Today, President Trump held a press conference to announce his support of legislation that would expand a bill previously introduced by Senator’s Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA). The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act would make dramatic changes to current U.S. immigration laws and reduce in half the number of people who will be able to receive permanent residence.
The good news is that this legislation is unlikely to ever pass the Senate. Currently, there would be roughly 30 GOP votes for this legislation and zero democrats. Many more senators support expanding legal immigration than these GOP hardliners. The current bill, S.354, gained little traction since introduction in February. Prior to receiving the President’s support only Senator’s Cotton and Perdue have cosponsored the legislation.
During Trump’s 2016 campaign he argued that legal immigration has taken opportunities away from American citizens and threatens national security. During the press conference, the President stated: “As a candidate I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that is why we are here today. Merit-based. The RAISE Act, R-A-I-S-E, the RAISE Act, will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars. It will do this by changing the way the United States issues green cards to nationals from other countries.”
ADC believes the RAISE Act will negatively impact our Members and our nation. It’s reported that undocumented immigrants make up about half the workforce in the U.S. The result has been disastrous for dairies, feedlots, farms, meatpacking plants, etc. Sustaining their current productivity – especially in states where unemployment is less than half the national unemployment rate is already hard enough.
ADC is constantly building relationships with Democrats and Republicans who understand how desperately the dairy, livestock and agriculture industries need a reliable workforce to provide food to the world. We will watch the bill closely and keep you posted if it advances.
ADC is dedicated to finding a path forward for our Members so they will have the workforce they need to sustain their current operations and grow and thrive for future generations. Our focus has been working with House Legislators on several immigration bills. Most recently, our attention has been focused on working with Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee on a bill called; The Agricultural Guestworker Act (AG Act). Luckily, Chairman Goodlatte’s bill provides Guestworker status, which is very different than what the President’s RAISE Act does to limit immigrants working in the United States.
It is time to grow our Coalition. Our dairy, livestock and agriculture industries must unite and fight for the AG Act to move forward. We expect the Chairman will introduce his bill soon after Labor Day. Time is running out. If you are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you are not currently a member, please contact the American Dairy Coalition for more information.
Legislative Summary of the RAISE Act
- Replaces the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merits.
- Reduces overall immigration numbers to limit low-skilled and unskilled labor entering the United States.
- Prioritizes immediate family members of United States residents, including spouses and minor children, but ends preferences for extended family members and adult children.
- Eliminates the outdated Diversity Visa lottery system
- Limits permanent resident status for refugees to 50,000 a year, in line with the 13-year average.
- Has very little chance of advancing in any form.
“Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more benefits. It will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class.” – President Donald Trump