How can the new bill on legal immigration hurt the u.s. economy?

So in the end, it is predictable that as the requirements for a work visa harden, irregular immigration will increase. Is this the real plan behind this bill? After all, Trump know how to do business. And he is certainly ruling the United States as a company.


On August 2, 2017, Trump made the case for a new immigration bill that will definitely increase the difficulties for the highly skilled to immigrate to the United States. This new immigration bill is called the RAISE Act. Some of the features that are in the current legislation and will be discontinued with the RAISE Act are the prioritization of green cards for adult children and for the extended family of the immigrants who are already living in the United States. The immigration lottery program will also be finished, as well as the limit of the number of refugees that are currently accepted in the country, which will be diminished to 50,000. Additionally, the asylum program is to be revised.

All these measures would decrease legal immigration by half in what the President claim would be the most significant reform in the country’s immigration system “in half a century”. Trump said this measure would reduce poverty, as well as increase wages of the American citizens and save taxpayers a lot of money. The three main requirements for a person to be accepted as a lawful resident in the United States would be: a) to speak English, b) to demonstrate that the person can financially support himself and his family, and c) to have the sufficient skills to contribute to the economy of the United States. According to Trump, this would prevent an immigrant from collecting welfare immediately, even when the current law already does this job and prevents immigrants from receiving most safety net benefits for five years.

One of the reasons for the bill, according to the President, is to benefit the American citizens because they deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first. But how much of all this is true? Is the President closing his eyes to those immigrants who do the 3D jobs (dirty, dangerous and difficult) that the American citizens do not want to do? How many American citizens, for example, want to go pick up vegetables to the crops under the sun, and under conditions of zero benefits and low wages? How many American citizens want to wash the dishes of the fast-food chains in the country? Or gardening, or baby sitting? Or are these supposed to be not regulated because it is better this way for all the All-American companies that so much benefit from the low-skilled workers? This would actually help the current system, because an immigrant who does not speak English would not be welcome to the high-skilled market, but it would be very welcome in the low-skilled one, because it is cheap and easily replaceable. So in the end, it is predictable that as the requirements for a work visa harden, irregular immigration will increase. Is this the real plan behind this bill? After all, Trump know how to do business. And he is certainly ruling the United States as a company.

On the other hand, the job market for the highly skilled workers has become very competitive in the United States, and the immigrants who get a job prove to be better qualified than an American citizen. Otherwise, companies would choose to save the money and hire a local one. Trump said that he wants to put Americans first, so let us suppose that the high-skilled immigration is reduced by half. This means that the jobs would have to be filled by local employees, regardless of them being under qualified. The question is, would this less qualified work help or hurt the U.S. economy, or would slow it? Economists mostly agree with the fact that immigration is positively correlated with a higher and faster economic growth, and reducing immigration would certainly reduce the growth of the U.S. economy, according to experts.

Another negative point of this new bill would be the effects that it would have on the immigrants who are already in the United States and who want to be reunited with their families. If these families do not speak English, they would never make it into the United States. And if a highly-skilled immigrants is denied family reunion, he is very likely to go and offer his skills to other economies that do want to grow faster. It is to be seen yet who is Trump going to blame for decrease of high-skilled authorized immigration and the increase of the low-skilled unauthorized labor force.

Dott.ssa Ana Figueroa

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