National Justice for Our Neighbors strongly opposes the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy” (RAISE) Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) and championed by the Trump Administration. This anti-family and anti-refugee bill would dismantle our nation’s immigration system based on supporting family unification and would greatly reduce refugee admissions, instead favoring a “merit-based” points system based on the applicant’s ability to speak English and benefit the U.S. economy.
Like so many other proposals that have been floated in recent months, the justification for this bill—that it would increase wages and protect American jobs—relies not on facts but on myths meant to make us fear immigrants. For example, last year the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine produced a 500+ page report in which the lead researcher concluded that immigration had “little to no negative effects on overall wages and employment of native-born workers in the longer term.”
More importantly, this bill is an affront to the core values of JFON: promoting family unity and defending the most vulnerable. We are called to serve those who are desperately seeking safety, refuge, and family.
Another relevant text, also not cited by those introducing the bill, the Bible, reminds us, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
Here are some components of the bill that demonstrate why we vehemently oppose it:
- Reduces legal immigration channels by 50-70 percent, with an 85 percent cut to family-based immigration.
- Permanently caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year, the lowest resettlement goal in U.S. history, during the largest global refugee crisis in world history.
- Eliminates the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers and sisters, and creates an impossible process for them to sponsor their parents for five-year visas, during which time the parents would not be able to work and the child would have to cover all expenses and health insurance costs.
- Stops green card holders from sponsoring their children over the age of 18.
- Leaves approximately four million people, who have been promised a visa and are waiting in line for it to become available, without any opportunity to reunite with their family members.
- Essentially only permits individuals who have certain education levels, work history, English-language ability, or high-paying job offers to enter the United States.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, of which National JFON is a member, has drafted this sign-on letter that we encourage all faith leaders, churches, and JFONs to sign. Also, we urge you to call your Senators and Representative today at 202-224-3121.
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I am strongly OPPOSED to Senators Cotton and Perdue’s RAISE Act. This bill would permanently cut refugee resettlement numbers to historic lows, make familyreunification inaccessible, and essentially only permit individuals who have certain education levels, employment history, and English-language ability to enter the United States. I urge you to reject this bill and do everything in your power to see that it does NOT become law.”
Thank you for your help.