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 —