Cotton And Trump Team Hand America A Bad Bill – Forbes

The Statue of Liberty stands at dusk in this aerial photograph taken above New York, June 19, 2015. (Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg)

What would you call a “skilled” immigration bill that doesn’t increase skilled immigration? A bill advertised as helping families that keeps parents away from their children? And a bill that claims to help the economy but lowers future U.S. labor force and economic growth? Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Donald Trump call it the RAISE Act and have urged its passage.

The point of the RAISE Act is to significantly reduce legal immigration as a way to achieve the long-standing goal of those who dislike immigrants generally or believe a lower U.S. population level is an important policy goal. The bill is so harmful to U.S. economic interests and contrary to America’s historic role as a beacon of liberty that it can only be understood in the context of reducing legal immigration as an end in itself. The bill would cut legal immigration in half.

The RAISE Act does not actually increase “skilled” immigration. The bill simply takes the current 140,000 employment-based limit that employers use to sponsor primarily high-skilled immigrants and converts green card distribution into a point-based system. Under the bill, U.S. employers would have no way of knowing if an employee they value will be able to stay with their company long-term by gaining permanent residence. People’s lives would be left to the whims of new criteria designed by Congressional and White House staffers.

Human capital is vital but the bill would change a system where employers decide which employees are valuable and turn it into one more appropriate to a centrally planned economy.

Despite what its sponsors say, the bill does not adopt the Canadian or Australian immigration model. “The bill somewhat resembles previous iterations of the Canadian point system which, on paper, looked like they were creating great immigrants for the labor market, but in fact were creating lots of taxi drivers with PhDs,” Peter Rekai, a Canadian immigration attorney with Rekai LLP told me in an interview.

The Canadian Express Entry system significantly favors individuals already working in a skilled temporary visa status in Canada. But since key Trump administration advisers are hostile to H-1B temporary visas it makes sense that element was left out of the point system in the RAISE Act. In Australia, the point system is used for people without an existing employer and actually operates in addition to – not instead of – employer sponsorship of valued employees.

Moreover, as discussed here, the most important feature of the Canadian and Australian immigration systems is a high level of admissions – the exact opposite of the RAISE Act. As a percentage of their populations, Canada and Australia admit two to three times as many immigrants as the United States.

Cotton And Trump Team Hand America A Bad Bill – Forbes