The U.S. allows about one million legal immigrants each year. On August 2nd, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) unveiled a bill that, if passed, would halve the number of legal immigrants over the next decade, eliminate family reunification and diversity visas, and limit refugees.
“So much for the talking point that immigration hawks are ‘only against illegal immigration,’” wrote Alex Nowrasteh of the conservative Cato Institute.
Though proponents claim the bill would increase “skill-based immigration,” Nowrasteh wrote that “nothing could be further from the truth.” In fact, “the new Cotton-Perdue bill will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards. Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.”
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In February, GOP Senators proposed the RAISE Act (Reforming American immigration for a Strong Economy) with very similar provisions, but the bill stalled in the Senate. It purported to “raise the wages of native-born American workers by reducing the supply of lower-skilled immigrants.” But there is evidence that there is not a direct correlation between limiting immigration and increasing wages. For example, a study of the 1964 cancellation of the Bracero program, a guest worker program that allowed Mexican farmers to work on American farms, found that “the farmers did not adapt to the decline in legal migrants by raising wages. Instead, they mechanized and planted less labor-intensive crops.”
Asian American leaders in San Francisco condemned the new bill this week. They compared it to the plan to challenge affirmative action in higher education announced last week, and see both as part of a white nationalist “ethnic cleansing agenda.”
Dean Ito Taylor, executive director of Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, told New America Media, “It’s almost like they sat around and said, ‘How can we [get rid of] all these Asians and Latinos coming to the country?’”
Readers may remember that in late July, during Trump’s own “Made in America” week, the President not only dismissed criticism of his own companies’ foreign-made goods, his Mar-a-Lago Club and golf course in Florida filed H-2B visas to bring foreign workers for positions they claimed could not be filled by U.S. workers—15 housekeepers, 20 cooks, and 35 servers.—Cyndi Suarez