President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced a proposal to slash the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. by half, in what would be the biggest overhaul of immigration law in over half a century. The RAISE Act, or Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. Trump unveiled the bill in a White House ceremony with its Republican co-sponsors, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.
President Donald Trump: “This legislation will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens. This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.”
The RAISE Act would dramatically limit the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. to reunite with family members. The plan was blasted by Democratic lawmakers and opposed by some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said it would hurt agriculture, tourism and service industries. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect tweeted, “The Statue of Liberty weeps as she watches Trump flush America’s moral leadership down the toilet.”