Asian Americans Advancing Justice Strongly Opposes Restrictionist Immigration Bill

The RAISE Act seeks to significantly reduce existing pathways for legal immigration, primarily targeting family immigration categories.
For Immediate Release
Contact
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 144 mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org

WASHINGTON — Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) filed a bill called the RAISE Act that would upend the immigration system to further a white nationalist agenda and move the country in the wrong direction.  

Asian Americans Advancing Justice issued the following statement in response to this harmful proposal:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is alarmed that U.S. Senators have filed legislation that will severely restrict the overall number of immigrants to the United States and decimate the transformative progress our country has made since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that both reunited countless American families with their loved ones abroad, and which dismantled the previous racist immigration system that heavily favored European immigrants. The RAISE Act would immediately cut the number of green cards made available in any given year by 40 percent, then eventually reduce the number down to 50 percent of today’s levels; strip the rights of U.S. citizens to apply to bring their parents, siblings, and adult children to the United States as lawful permanent residents; and eliminate the ability of lawful permanent residents to sponsor their unmarried adult children for green cards. Additionally, the bill lowers the number of green cards allocated for family-based sponsorship to a mere 88,000 per year.

The bill also eliminates the diversity lottery, which has been a crucial means for lawful immigration from less populous countries and limits the number of refugees to 50,000 per year--the lowest level in history.   

Two-thirds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are immigrants, and 92 percent of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants. The vast majority of Asian immigrants have come to the U.S. through the family-based immigration system, and many Asian immigrants that come on employment-based visas also use the family-based system to reunite with family members.

The RAISE Act is a direct attack on our communities and part of a larger strategy to scapegoat immigrants and people of color. The idea that immigrants are to blame for declining wages, or unsafe communities, is completely unfounded and fosters an offensive race-baiting and xenophobic narrative. Congress should focus on policy solutions that promote economic security and prosperity for all members of our society, immigrant and native-born alike. We refuse to let Congress or anyone else try to lay the blame for all that ails society at the feet of immigrants and communities of color.

The family is the basic unit of our society. Family members care for one another in times of personal and economic hardship. Together, families start businesses and buy homes. Our immigration system should continue to value family unification. Instead, the RAISE Act proposes to decimate the family-based immigration system, keeping families separated and preventing immigrant communities from taking root. We will fight against this attack on our families and communities.

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