SAALT vehemently opposes updated RAISE Act that cracks down on legal immigration


South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, vehemently opposes today’s updated bill introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) that aims to crackdown on legal immigration.  The bill, named the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, would significantly reduce the number of immigrants who can obtain green cards and other visas and would cut the number of legal immigrants allowed in the United States by 40% in the first year and by 50% over a decade.

First introduced in April, today’s updated version of the RAISE Act would eliminate preferences for extended family members similar to the “Muslim ban”, eliminate the diversity visa lottery, limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, and institute a “skills-based points” merit system.

“America is a nation of values, founded on an idea that all people are created equal. Policies that break families apart and create false divisions among immigrants based on flawed notions of meritocracy do not live up to these values. Today’s revised RAISE Act, backed heavily by the White House, is part of an undisguised and coordinated attack on immigrant communities across the spectrum,” stated Lakshmi Sridaran, Director of National Policy and Advocacy at SAALT. “The draconian use of legislation and executive orders to criminalize and marginalize immigrant communities reveals the inherent xenophobia of this administration. From bans to walls to raids to this current focus on slashing green card numbers, there is a concerted effort to purge immigrants from our nation. We must resist all efforts to diminish immigrant communities and divide American-born and immigrant workers.”

Numbering over 4.3 million, South Asians are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States, with the majority of our communities foreign born. The RAISE Act will make reuniting families a draining if not impossible task for South Asian immigrants who already struggle under a woefully outdated immigration system that makes family reunification a burdensome task.

We implore Congress to support all forms of immigration, welcome refugees, promote sanctuary cities, pass the DREAM Act, and adopt an accurate and long view of our country’s history that sees immigrants as a fundamental aspect of American life.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi –