The RAISE Act, which Cotton and Perdue introduced in February, would scrap the current lottery system to get into the US and instead institute a points-based system for earning a green card.
President Trump promised to Make American Great Again.
The senators also propose to end a visa diversity lottery that has awarded 50,000 green cards a year, mostly to areas in the world that traditionally do not have as many immigrants to the United States, including Africa.
At issue is how many immigrants to let in: Immigration doves argue that it's impossible to meet Trump's goals of higher growth without bringing in more workers, while immigration hawks argue they will drag down wages and fail to assimilate. Perdue and Cotton have claimed that the RAISE Act will reform the immigration system, but the bill does not address the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the U.S.
NumbersUSA President Roy Beck hailed the bill and said that it "will do more than any other action to fulfill President Trump's promises as a candidate". "That's not just true at the high-skilled, but low-skilled level", said Jeremy Robbins, the executive director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, the pro-reform group led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"That is why we are here today: Merit-based", Trump said, joined at the White House Roosevelt Room podium by the bill's sponsors, Sens. "So, we're proposing to limit family-based migration to spouses and minor children".
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In a Wednesday speech in the White House's Roosevelt Room, President Trump endorsed a bill aimed at reforming the US immigration system by scaling back the number of immigrants entering the country.
"Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers will tell you this proposal - to cut legal immigration in half - would put their businesses in peril", he said in a statement. It has the potential to seriously restrict the flow of legal immigrants into the country, all - ostensibly - in the name of protecting unskilled American workers.
It also sets a 50,000 annual cap on refugees, instead of a level mandated by the president.
With respect to American taxpayers, the current system forces taxpayers to pay for billions of dollars in welfare benefits given to immigrants.
"Can they support themselves and their families financially?"
Increasing the labor force - the number of people who are working in and contributing to the economy, "that's a good thing", Bier said.
Refugee organizations said permanently limiting number of refugees allowed in the country goes against an American value of offering safe haven to people fleeing violence and oppression. They are routinely cheated out of wages, and are held "virtually captive" by employers, a 2013 Southern Poverty Law Center report found.