Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia introduced the RAISE Act, a bill that would favor immigration by individuals with higher levels of job skills, education, and English-language proficiency. President Donald Trump endorsed the bill as a step forward in adopting a merit-based immigration system that is similar to what Australia and Canada already have in place.
The bill’s prioritization of immigration based on job offers and skills marks a shift from the current regime that awards a significant percentage of green cards to individuals with family ties to the United States. Under current immigration law, family-based immigration is available to spouses and children of both permanent residents and U.S. citizens, as well as to siblings and parents of U.S. citizens. The bill would also remove the diversity visa lottery and cap the number of green cards awarded to refugees each year.
This bill is in the very early stages. Senator Perdue, the bill’s co-author, has also stated that the bill will proceed through regular legislative order; the Senate is expected to conduct committee hearings and floor debates before voting on the merits of the bill. Republicans are also expected to introduce a version of the RAISE Act in the House of Representatives this week.
CPG Immigration Law will continue to monitor this legislation and publish important updates as they become available.