President Donald Trump has announced his support for a reduction in legal immigration to the United States, backing a modified version of the bill first introduced in April by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA).

Trump on August 2 said he embraced a new “merit-based” immigration system, which he contends will benefit American workers, and a change from the existing “family-based” system.

The proposed “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act” would:

  • Cut legal immigration by 50% over 10 years.
  • End diversity lottery visas.
  • Cap the number of refugees who are offered permanent residency in the U.S. each year at 50,000 (far lower than the 110,000 previously announced by the Obama Administration).
  • Discontinue green card preference given to the extended family or adult children of immigrants who already live legally in the U.S.; although spouses, children under the age of 18, and ill parents would still receive preference.
  • Create a framework to give priority to green card applicants based on factors including English language ability, education levels, and job skills.

The timing of this announcement represents a pivot by the Administration to refocusing on immigration, which was a central issue to the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, after other major issues have dominated its attention.

The bill’s prospects are uncertain in Congress, particularly in the Senate, where some bipartisan opposition is likely and the bill would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

Jackson Lewis will monitor and report on the progress of this legislation as well as any other proposed immigration legislation in Congress.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.