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World
03 Aug 2017

Trump backs restrictions on legal-immigration, what it means for India?

Trump to crackdown on legal immigrants now?

US President Donald Trump has now signed a new law which is likely to curb legal immigration and reduce the number of green cards issued in a year.

Like Australia or Canada, the bill seeks to institute a 'merit-based' immigration system, "representing the most significant reform to our immigrating system in a half a century", stated Trump while announcing his support for the bill.

In context

Trump to crackdown on legal immigrants now?

Who is pushing for this law?

The RAISE bill was introduced by Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Republican senators from Arkansas and Georgia respectively aiming to cut down legal immigration up to 50% in 10 years. This is supported by most Republicans and Washington-based advocacy groups including NumbersUSA.

What does the law intend to do?

Details

What does the law intend to do?

The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, intends to reduce "overall immigration to limit low-skilled and unskilled labour entering the US".

The new law further seeks to cap immigration on account of English proficiency and ability to provide financial support to family.

It ends the "diversity visa lottery" system under which 50,000 people are granted green cards through random selection.

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Context

Trump administration's anti-immigration rhetoric

Although the Trump administration has been cracking down on illegal immigration as evidenced through the Muslim immigration ban which intended to restrict immigration from six Muslim countries and the infamous proposal to build a wall to keep Mexican illegal immigrants out.

In an attempt to reduce legal immigration, the administration has also taken steps including tightening H-1B visa norms, irking Indian IT giants.

Less green cards to be issued now!

Under the RAISE Act, green cards would only be issued to spouses and minor children, exempting extended family and adult children. Green cards will further only be issued to 50,000 refugees a year.

Looking to move to the US? You'll need 30 points!

The new system

Looking to move to the US? You'll need 30 points!

A potential immigrant has to secure a minimum of 30 points to be eligible for immigration under the new system.

Points are awarded for attributes including age, education and fluency in English. While those aged between 26 and 30 are allotted the highest score of 10, Education in the US will fetch you more points.

Those with Nobel prizes will straightaway get 25 points!

Impact

How does this affect Indians?

New regulations may extend the current waiting period for employment-based green card, which typically takes 10-35 years for Indians.

This further casts a shadow of potential deportation over 500,000 Indian illegal immigrants residing in the US.

Indians are further likely to be closely scrutinized as a recent study identified India as the 'fastest growing country of origin of illegal immigrants into the US'.

Conclusion

Does the proposed law benefit US economy?

Republicans supporting the bill have hailed it as the 'highest fulfillment of his campaign promise' and as a measure to protect American taxpayers and their jobs.

It does not make much sense to Democrats including Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, who have also slammed the proposed law, on account of effects it may have on states reliant on immigrant-base workforce such as South Carolina.

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