Earlier this month, President Donald Trump endorsed the RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., a bill to reform the merit-based immigration system and limit low-skill immigration.
Low-skill immigration is very costly to U.S. taxpayers. For example, a legal immigrant without a high school degree typically receives $4 in government benefits for every $1 he pays in taxes.
By limiting future low-skill immigration, the RAISE Act has the potential to save U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars in future years.
There are 12.8 million low-skill legal immigrants with a high school degree or less currently residing in the U.S. The households headed by these low-skill legal immigrants impose a net fiscal cost (total government benefits received minus total taxes paid) of $150 billion each year.
The $150 billion tax burden is equivalent to a $1.04 tax on every gallon of gas purchased by U.S. motorists every year for the foreseeable future.
The RAISE Act seeks to curtail future fiscal costs linked to low-skill immigration by eliminating chain migration, the visa lottery, and the current low-skill worker allotment. It also caps the future flow of refugees and asylees.
Nearly 400,000 legal immigrants enter the U.S. through these channels each year. The majority of these appear to be low-skill.
The bill’s reforms to chain migration are particularly important.
Chain migration starts with a foreign citizen who is given a green card. This individual is allowed to bring in his or her nuclear family consisting of a spouse and minor children.
Once the original immigrant and his or her spouse become U.S. citizens, they can petition for their parents, adult sons and daughters, and adult siblings and brothers- and sisters-in-law to also enter.
This second group can bring their minor children. Once they become citizens, the brothers- and sisters-in-law and parents can petition for their siblings, in-laws, and parents to legally enter the U.S.
By Robert Rector for THE DAILY SIGNAL
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