Two U.S. senators have proposed slashing the amount of legal immigration into the country, arguing that immigrants are mostly low-skilled labor. The two senators introduced a bill on Feb. 7, limiting immigration to 500,000 persons annually.
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and one of the bill's co-sponsors, argued that low-skilled immigrants are the cause of declining wages for Americans with high school degrees or less.
"It's pulling the rug out from underneath them, and unless we reverse this trend, we're going to create a near permanent underclass for whom the American dream is always just out of reach," the senator said, notes CNN.
The "Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act" (RAISE Act), introduced by Cotton and Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, seeks to limit family-based visas, prioritizing, instead, a green card pathway for spouses of citizens and unmarried minors.
"The Chamber has long advocated for reforming our immigration system to help our economy grow," Randy Johnson of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. "Immigration is a notoriously complicated issue involving everything from the functioning of the current legal immigration system, to the legalization process, to E-Verify, to border security, to temporary worker programs. The Chamber intends to be involved in these discussions as Congress and the administration tackle these important issues."
But not everyone agrees with the proposed immigration reform.
"We need more Sergey Brins and people like that who were born outside of this country and came here, received an education and made enormous progress for all mankind," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said, notes Reuters.
President Donald Trump himself made a case for immigrants in 2015.
"I feel strongly about this,” Trump said during an interview at the time on Steve Bannon’s radio show, reports The New Yorker. “When someone’s going to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Stanford, all the greats, and they graduate, and not only graduate but do great, and we throw them out of the country and they can’t get back in, I think that’s terrible. We’ve got to be able to keep great people in the country. We’ve got to create job creators.”