New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

RAISE: A New Immigration Plan For The US

Author: New York Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act was introduced on or about August 2, 2017 and is supported by the President Trump. The essence of this legislation is to limit the number of new immigrants by changing the way the prospects are screened. The Act imposes new requirements for immigrants such as ability to communicate in English, ability to support themselves financially, and ability to find employment. The RAISE act would also prohibit almost all family-sponsored visas, apart from sponsoring of spouses and minor children (under 18 years old, not under 21), and would end the Diversity Visa program (the DV program).

Interestingly, the Act proposed to eliminate a work authorization for family sponsored persons for the first 5 years of their admission completely. In addition, the Act discriminates against applicants based on age by assigning various number of “application points” to those in different age groups. (If a person, according to the Act, “collects” 30 points by meeting various criteria, then a person may submit his/her application for admission with the US authorities.)

As far as English test requirement goes: the United States is maybe the only country in the world where English language is not listed as an official country’s language in its Constitution. In fact, legally, the US does not have an official language. It seems that to impose a requirement that a person who is applying for admission must pass TOEFL test with some score, would require a Constitutional amendment as well.

For those who are seeking to sponsor themselves, the Act would offer 25 points if a person is a Nobel Laureate or has received comparable recognition in a field of scientific or social scientific study; or can invest $1,350,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, maintain such investment for at least 3 years, and play an active role in the management of such commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation (only 6 points) or 12 points if the applicant agrees to invest the equivalent of $1,800,000 in foreign currency in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, maintain such investment for at least 3 years, and play an active role in the management of such commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation.

The Act is focused on external immigration and is not addressing the needs of those who are in the United States already. Also, the Act simply ignores the needs of the US businesses or families. The Act is just a proposal, and not the law yet.

07 August 2017
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