FWD.us: Conservative Lawmakers, Business Leaders Voice Opposition to the RAISE Act

ICYMI: Conservative Lawmakers, Business Leaders Voice Opposition to the RAISE Act

ICYMI: Conservative lawmakers and business leaders are voicing opposition to the RAISE Act, which would slash overall legal immigration by 50 percent – the largest cuts to legal immigration in modern history. The bill – introduced Wednesday by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) – would severely harm the economy and depress wages for native-born American workers.


Read FWD.us President Todd Schulte’s statement on the RAISE Act here.

Below please find a sampling of the voices in opposition to slashing legal immigration levels under the RAISE Act:



Senator Tim Scott (R-SC):”We need to fix our broken illegal immigration problem,” Scott said, “but we also need to make sure we continue to encourage the legal process” to bolster the labor force in sectors where it is most needed.” [Post and Courier, 08/02/17]


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “South Carolina’s agriculture and tourism industry advertise for American workers and want to fill open positions with American workers.  Unfortunately, many of these advertised positions go unfilled.  Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers will tell you this proposal – to cut legal immigration in half — would put their business in peril…Finally, I fear this proposal will not only hurt our agriculture, tourism and service economy in South Carolina, it incentivizes more illegal immigration as positions go unfilled.  After dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.” [Press Release, 08/02/17]


Senator John McCain (R-AZ): “When you look at the 20-year demographics we’re facing, we’ll have an aging population and a declining workforce,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned the Cotton-Perdue proposal would stifle innovation. “I just don’t agree with it,” he said.
“I think we need more Sergey Brins and people like that who were born outside of this country, came here, received an education and made enormous progress for all of mankind,” [The Hill, 08/03/17]


Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ): “I support a merit-based system but I’m concerned that drastic cuts to legal immigration would run counter to the needs of our economy” [Twitter, 08/02/17]

  • “Our current approach to legal immigration is antiquated and I support reforms, including a merit-based approach that will modernize it. We need to make sure we are responsive to the needs of our economy and I’m concerned that drastic cuts to the number of immigrants fails to meet that goal.” [Press Release, 08/02/17]


Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL): “NO to cutting legal #immigration in half. We should promote orderly immigration recognizing that immigrants made us greatest country on earth” [Twitter, 08/02/17]


Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):“I oppose #RaiseAct bc it will destroy opportunities 4 immigrants who follow the rules + positively contribute 2 our American way of life.” [Twitter, 08/02/17]


Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX): “We have benefited from the brain drain of every other country and I want to continue that … and I want to benefit from the hard-working drain, too,” he said. “If you’re going to be a productive member of our society, let’s get you here as quickly as possible, but let’s do it legally.” [Dallas News, 08/03/17]


Alex Nowrasteh, CATO Institute: “The new Cotton-Perdue bill would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards,” Nowrasteh writes. “Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.” [Cato Institute, 08/02/17]


David Bier, Cato Institute: “The legislation would reduce the per capita rate of immigration to the lowest amount since just after the Great Depression…Immigration would fall to a rate three times less than the historical average and 11 times less than the historical high.” [Cato Institute, 08/02/17

  • “Legal immigrants are coming into the country at historic lows, Bier said. Legal immigrants coming into the U.S. at a rate 30 percent lower than ever before when the current population is taken into account, he said and that combined with Baby Boomers retiring droves and a historically low birthrate among Americans are setting the country up for a serious worker shortage “and I’m not sure if the senators are aware that they’re being misled by these numbers.” [Rare, 08/02/17]

Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles: “This is not a conservative bill… I think it’s horrible legislation. It will take us back to the years when preference was given to people from northern Europe.” [NBC, 08/03/17]


Teresa Cardinal Brown, immigration expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center: “Immigration is a national imperative for the United States, fueling economic growth and supporting our nation’s retirees. The RAISE Act’s goal of reducing legal immigration is a threat to the U.S. economy and would place additional strains on the Social Security system by reducing the size of the labor force.” [NBC, 08/03/17]


John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy: “Slashing legal immigration in half would only hinder growth and result in fewer jobs for Americans…It absolutely makes sense to fix a broken system, but Congress should focus on stopping illegal immigration – not on restricting the legal immigration that grows our economy.” [New American Economy Press Release, 08/03/17]


Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum: “The RAISE Act would dramatically undercut growth for years to come. American workers’ current and future economic well being depends on a dynamic labor force that includes immigrants and their contributions…Congress should find ways to replace our outdated system in ways that meet the needs of American workers and our economy.” [National Immigration Forum, 08/03/17]
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: “Cut Legal Immigration by Half http://tws.io/2uY7Uze  disgraceful measure by 2 conserv senators who should know better.Playing to xenophobes” [Twitter, 08/02/17]


Washington Examiner: “Regrettably, however, these are likely to be obscured by the policy that will make the biggest headlines, a 50 percent reduction in legal immigration. There is no problem at the moment with excessively high levels of legal immigration. It is not the overall number of immigrants but the composition of the whole, with too many low-skilled newcomers and too few high-skilled ones that is the problem. The bill seeks to fix that problem and should do so, which makes its effort to stanch the flow of arrivals overall both redundant and, in all likelihood, counterproductive.” [Washington Examiner, 08/02/17]


Joe Scarborough: “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said cutting immigration in half is a non-starter, especially for Graham, who believes industries like meat packing and agriculture don’t have native-born Americans in them, making it harder to replace immigrant workers if the bill was passed.” [Daily Caller 08/03/17]


Raoul Lowery-Contreras, Fox News: “What we can say is that this proposal does not reform or solve profound shortcomings in the immigration system. If this bill passes, the seriously defective immigration system will remain defective. Why? Because it does nothing to solve the employment crisis that exists in three areas – the hospitality industry, agriculture and the construction business.” [Fox News, 08/03/2017]


Lyman Stone, The Federalist: “But the RAISE Act designers made a crucial drafting error. They slashed family visas, implemented a points-based system… then left the number of employment visas unchanged at 140,000. This is nonsensical. Sure, the RAISE Act relieves some pressure on low-skilled workers, which is good, but it does absolutely nothing to make the United States more globally competitive.” [The Federalist, 08/03/17]

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