RAISE Act

And now, Washington is talking about immigration after all. Today the White House announced that President Donald J. Trump Backs RAISE Act. Senator Tom Cotton introduced this bill back in February, but today released a significantly revised and expanded version of Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (now with the number S.1720). The bill promises to “spur economic growth and raise working Americans’ wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration by half.” Most of the reduction would come at the expense of family-based visas, which would be cut dramatically. The proposal would keep the current 140,000 allocation for employment-based visas, but would do away with all current EB categories (including EB-5) and replace them with a “merit-based” or “skills-based” points system. A prospective EB immigrant would accumulate points to gain the right to enter an applicant pool, and then every year USCIS would invite the 140,000 applicants in the pool with the most points to file a visa petition. Points could be accrued based on age (the nearer to age 25 the better), English language test scores (the higher the better), educational credential (most points for US doctorate in STEM), extraordinary achievement (more points for Nobel laureate than Olympic medalist), job offer (more points for higher salary), spouse (negative points for low-point spouse), and investment in an enterprise that the immigrant will manage as a primary occupation (more points for bigger investment).

The bill seems unlikely to go far, considering that it proposes to change the current immigration system so radically and would hurt so many interests. In my capacity as a citizen, however, I’m very interested in this bill and the conversation around it. When we talk about immigration policy, we go straight to core questions of national identity – who we are, what we value, what borders define us, and where we want to go as a country. I’m fascinated by the history of U.S. immigration law, and how the laws reflect and shaped our socioeconomic history and values. I’m also fascinated by data on U.S. immigration, and how dramatically the data picture differs from the Emma-Lazarus-colored impression that both advocates and critics seem to have of US immigration. It’s helpful to consider the history and the data when assessing this new immigration vision as proposed by Senator Cotton and endorsed by President Trump.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Lucid Professional Writing provides writing and editing services for businesses and scholars, and specializes in assisting clients to prepare business plans for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

13 Responses to RAISE Act

  1. Rahul says:

    What would happen to people who are already in queue either through EB5 or other approved EB petition but visa number is not yet available ? Thank you for your hard work as always !

    • The bill as written is not gracious to people in that position. Page 15-16 just offers a grace period for applicants who were granted admission to the US before the act and scheduled to receive a visa within one year of the date of enactment. But I wouldn’t worry too much — it’s hard to imagine that this bill will get much significant, serious support.

  2. Jane says:

    I saw in the bill, invest 1350000 for three year can get 6 points, invest 1800000 for three yeas get 12 points, both need to involve in active management

    • Yes. I don’t see that form of immigrant investment being very workable, however. Who will invest $1.35+ million to start a US business that requires the immigrant to personally manage it, though the immigrant can’t manage the business for the foreseeable future because the investment doesn’t lead to a visa but only grants points toward possibly someday getting admitted to the US?

      • Jane says:

        I would rather build a company and hire myself at about 180000 salary, then get 13points. Also, US degree is only one point higher than non-US degree, this will hurt lots of international students.

  3. Pankaj says:

    Suzanne, I have been reading your blog consistently for many months now and I know that your information and analysis are always accurate. Hence, when you say – “it’s hard to imagine that this bill will get much significant, serious support”, this gives hope in chaos all around.
    Many have invested in EB 5 and are waiting for processing or Visa approval (which could take years) and the uncertainty around the program, is making this wait period more frustrating.
    Would like to thank you for the information you publish.

  4. jefflawy says:

    Hi, SUzanne, according to The Hill, Sen. John Cornyn is working on a border security bill that is expected to include some immigration components and which is expected to unveiled on Thursday. As we know Sen. Cornyn is a supporter for EB-5 reform and also favors for expanding the visa quota to solve the retrogression issue. Any news about his bill?
    Your blog is my daily check and im pretty sure it’s helping a lot of people just like me.

  5. Investor says:

    Based on what I read, this bill practically abolishes the EB-5 regional center program altogether and replaces it with two simple sentences (manage 1.35 million and get points, etc). That’s why it is a joke.

    Leaders in Congress have tried for two years and they can’t even have the ability to raise a minimum investment amount. How can they (two people who have no previous background in EB-5 issues whatsoever) abruptly abolish this program, given its intense support from both parties, real estate industry, and trade groups? It just sounds like they are daydreaming.

    • I daresay that this bill is a main idea — to reduce overall immigration while encouraging high-skilled immigration — and the details are filler and not thought-out at all. I doubt that the authors know anything about EB-5 or the other current EB categories that would be eliminated by this proposal.

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