The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association opposes the RAISE Act (S. 1720), introduced by Senators Cotton (Ark.) and Purdue (Ga.). The bill would cut all legal immigration into the United States by half, impacting businesses and preventing the reunification of families. Notably, the RAISE Act, (1) curtails family-based visa programs, (2) makes a reduction in refugee admissions permanent, (3) slashes the number of green cards available, and (4) replaces employment visa categories with a point-based merit system that gives priority to individuals based on criteria including age, English proficiency, education, and economic factors.
“Commonsense immigration reform is necessary, but the RAISE Act keeps families apart, and undermines American businesses and their workforce needs,” said NAPABA president Cyndie M. Chang. “This bill reduces legal immigration, turns our backs on refugees, and rejects our core value of keeping families together. Nearly two-thirds of the Asian Pacific American community immigrated to the United States and we have long been targets of discriminatory immigration legislation. We stand against this bill.”
Nearly two-thirds of the Asian Pacific American community is foreign-born and 92 percent of Asian Pacific Americans are immigrants or have immigrant parents. Asian Pacific American families are diverse, having come to the U.S. to join their families to seek opportunity, or as refugees following humanitarian crises. The majority of these families came to the U.S. under employment-based visas and family-based visa programs that would be cut under this legislation. Further, these reductions would increase delays in the already long visa-backlog that continues to keep families apart.
The RAISE Act fails to address the real problems that plague the immigration system. NAPABA recognizes the invaluable contribution of immigrants to our country and urges Congress to reject this bill.