Tell Congress you oppose the anti-immigrant RAISE Act

The “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act” (“RAISE Act”), re-introduced in August 2017 by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA), is another tactic being pushed by Republicans to minimize the presence, contributions, and opportunities for legal immigrants, refugees, and immigrant families.

Hispanic Federation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, UnidosUS, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are collaborating to collect signatures on this petition to Congressional leaders urging them to oppose the RAISE Act. A copy of the final petition will be sent to all Senators and Members of Congress.

Backed by the Trump Administration, the RAISE Act would cap refugee admissions to only 50,000 individuals, significanty lower than previous levels. It would create a new visa system that awards points to potential immigrants, drastically curtailing the family-based immigration system currently in place. Points would be awarded based on characteristics such as English fluency and education levels. The bill would also reduce the number of green cards available each year by 60-70%, and would eliminate the diversity lottery.

The Cotton-Purdue bill, if passed, is the biggest attack on legal immigration in nearly a century and on our country’s rich history of recognizing the value of keeping families together. The impact on Latino, Asian, and Black immigrants and their families would be devastating.

The RAISE Act is an extremist proposal that will keep families apart, punish the poor, and hurt the American economy by denying businesses access to essential workers. The United States must reform its immigration system, not destroy it.

For more information on this bill, please see Asian Americans Advancing Justice analysis and talking points available here.

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The Petition

Dear Leader McConnell; Minority Leader Schumer; Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:

We write to express our strong opposition to the RAISE Act. We stand together in support of immigrants generally and the family immigration, refugee resettlement and the diversity lottery specifically. We urge you stand to in opposition to this legislation and in support of immigrants who make our country stronger.

The RAISE Act would move the country in the wrong direction. This bill is not focused on economic prosperity but rather a restrictionist view of immigration. The bill would cut immigration by 60 - 70%, end the family immigration system and the diversity lottery, and permanently cap refugees at 50,000 per year. It would also replace the employment-based immigration system with a point-based system, preferring highly educated and highly paid immigrants.   

Family is the central institution in our society. Family members provide care for children and sick and elderly relatives so that other family members can work. Cutting opportunities for adult children, siblings and parents to immigrate will affect Americans’ well-being and prosperity.

Creating a temporary visa for parents and prohibiting them from working or ever becoming citizens is offensive and reminiscent of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the xenophobic law that prevented immigration from China and blocked those already here from becoming citizens and the notoriously abusive Bracero program which brought in hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers, primarily to work in agriculture, but did not offer them a path to citizenship.  

Immigrants are good for our economy. Together, families buy homes and start businesses that create jobs. Many immigrant business owners came through these pathways or sponsored family members who help with their businesses. It is also vital that the U.S. continues to be a safe haven for those seeking refuge from violence and persecution and that those refugees are able to reunite with family members.

We take pride in the idea of America as a land of opportunity for all. We are further concerned that a “merit-based system” will prioritize the immigration of men over women due to gender discrimination in other countries where women do not have equal educational or employment opportunities.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 ended a racist immigration quotas that preference Northern and Western European immigrants and has led to the vibrant and diverse immigrant communities in our country today, to include those from Asia and the Pacific Islands, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. To end that system would be a grave mistake harming the very soul of our nation.