Supporters of the RAISE Act are counting on the media, voters, and policy makers to focus on talking points supporting the bill rather than its actual substance. Those supporters want the debate over this bill to be “skilled or merit based immigrants versus family-based immigrants” – a debate that they could win. But they can only do that if everybody focuses on the talking points and they remain ignorant of the actual contents of the bill. The RAISE Act talking points are grossly deceptive, at best, and do not accurately describe the bill’s contents or what its effects would be. Each heading below is a major talking point that RAISE’s supporters are using followed by what the facts actually are.
“The RAISE Act creates a merit and skills-based immigration system.”
The RAISE Act does not increase merit and skills-based immigration over the existing cap. The bill sets an annual cap of 140,000 green cards annually for merit and skills-based immigrants – the exact same number apportioned to the current employment-based green card for skilled workers. The RAISE Act merely cuts other immigration categories, such as family-based green cards, while creating a points system for obtaining one of the 140,000 merit and skills-based green cards. Cutting family reunification does not create a merit or skills-based immigration system.
“The RAISE Act is very similar to the merit-based Canadian and Australian immigration systems”
The Canadian and Australian merit-based immigration systems are far more open than either current U.S. immigrant law or what the RAISE Act would create. As a percent of the population, which is the only meaningful way to compare the size of immigrant flows in different countries or across time, the Australian and Canadian merit-based immigration policies allow about 3.5 and 2.4 times as many immigrants annually as the United States, respectively. The RAISE Act would widen this gulf even further whereby the annual immigrant flows to Australia and Canada would be about 7.9 and 5.3 times as great as to the United States.