Since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has been vocal about his urgency to reform U.S. immigration policy. When he was elected, business leaders, especially within the agriculture industry, waited to see what Trump’s immigration plans were and what those plans would mean for their workforce. An August 2 announcement from Trump may give the agriculture industry a clearer view of the future for their workforce.
President Trump spoke in support of new legislation, titled the Raise Act, which would cut down the number of legal immigrants entering the United States each year. This legislation includes eliminating the diversity lottery visas and limiting the number of refugees that are offered permanent residency. This new legislation would reform the immigration system to be based on skill rather than family connections.
According to Trump and Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton, 1.1 million legal immigrants are granted green cards every year. Of those 1.1 million, only one in 15 of them come to America as skilled, ready-to-work immigrants. The Raise Act is looking to change that.
The United States’ immigration policy has not been reformed in approximately 50 years. Senator Cotton called it an “obsolete disaster” in his statement this morning. All three men say the Raise Act will be incredibly beneficial toward the U.S. economy, because the immigrants entering the country will be ready-to-work, skilled individuals. The Raise Act will also present the opportunity for raised wages because the new immigrants will be more skilled.
As with any piece of legislation, the Raise Act does not have total support. According to NPR, business groups are opposing the new legislation, including agricultural industry professionals. Several business groups in agriculture rely on low-skilled, low-wage immigrants to work on their labor-intensive crops. The Raise Act would severely cut down their workforce, forcing producers to look elsewhere to find needed help.
President Trump, Senator Cotton and Senator Perdue spoke about the Raise Act at a brief press conference. To watch their statements, click here.
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