After a crackdown on illegal immigration, President Donald Trump is now turning his attention to reducing the number of legal immigrants in the country.
The White House is throwing its support behind a bill developed by Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that would cut legal immigration by 50 percent over 10 years by reducing the kinds of relatives immigrants can bring into the country.
The new bill, known as the RAISE Act, would prioritize high-skilled immigrants by setting up a merits-based system similar to those used by Canada and Australia. Trump and Republican lawmakers blasted the current immigration system as out of date and argued that it hurts American workers by driving down wages.
“This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” Trump said.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly blamed these immigrants for stealing jobs and burdening the taxpayers. However, reports show poor immigrants are not even eligible for welfare.
Although most states do allow immigrants to get food assistance for pregnant women and also offer reduced-priced lunches for kids in schools, when it comes to public benefits, they don’t qualify for most of them.
These immigrants are not eligible to get assistance in food stamps, social security, Medicaid and Medicare. It's not just poor immigrants; green card holders also have to wait for up to five years to get assistance in social welfare programs.
Although Cotton and Perdue seem quite confident, other Republican lawmakers said the bill might go too far. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said his state is dependent on immigrant labor to sustain the two biggest sectors of the economy, agriculture and tourism.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Carlos Barria