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Tom Cotton: Immigration Reformer

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm   /   by

The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act

For years former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was a lonely voice in the Senate who never stopped calling for commonsense immigration policy that put the focus on national security and American workers. He was the voice of hard-working Americans forced to compete with immigrants that took jobs and lowered wages.

Sessions joined with Donald Trump in delivering this key message during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now Sessions is Attorney General. He will use the resources of the Justice Department to make the rule of law the guiding principle of national immigration policy.

Now Sessions has an immigration reform successor in the Senate: Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, the young Republican who already has made a mark in his first term. A graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law, Cotton left the practice of law after 9/11 and joined the Army; he served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantry officer. He is a member of key Senate committees – Armed Services, Intelligence, and Banking. He is a man with a future.

Only one day before Sessions received Senate confirmation as Attorney General, Cotton took up the cause of immigration and the needs of American workers when he introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act. He was joined by Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia).

In introducing the legislation, Cotton stated the key purpose of the reform effort: “The legislation 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.”

In other words, legal immigration should serve American workers first. The federal government’s immigration policy should shift to the interests of American citizens and their families. Cutting the flow of immigration is a serious reform that should take precedence over the failed “comprehensive” immigration reform initiative that tinkered with border security and created a pathway to citizenship.

The Cotton initiative deserves immediate attention in the Senate as the Trump administration moves to reform national immigration policy under the leadership of the new Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General. Millions of voters are watching to see if the Senate responds.

Following are key provisions of the RAISE Act:

* 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.

Image Source: Konstantin L
License: ShutterStock

John Walker

John Walker

Team Writer at Western Free Press
John Walker is a long time observer of American politics with experience in journalism, government, and public affairs.

During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.

Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
John Walker

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Tom Cotton: Immigration Reformer