TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes S. 1103 and H.R. 2278, two immigration reform proposals that are commonly referred to as the “RAISE Act.” Both bills would severely cut legal immigration and would greatly harm America’s economic interests. Members who do not cosponsor these bills will receive credit on the Leadership component of their “How They Voted” rating.
The RAISE Act is no solution to America’s broken immigration system; it would exacerbate its faults. Proponents of the legislation are clear in their intent. They proclaim that the legislation would reduce legal immigration by 41% in the first year of implementation and cause a 50% decline in legal immigration after 10 years.
Reducing legal immigration is likely to increase levels of illegal immigration, aggravate the current crisis at our Southern Border, runs counter to our history as a nation of immigrants, and will endanger future economic growth for all Americans.
In addition to these significant cuts to legal immigration, the RAISE Act would replace the current employment-based immigrant visa system with an unworkable points-based system that suffers from two fatal flaws.
First, the points-based system would greatly diminish the ability of employers to hire the workers they need. The Chamber believes that individual businesses are in a better position than the federal government to determine what skill sets are needed within their companies and they should be allowed to petition for the workers that best meet their workforce needs, not those that best fit arbitrary criteria set forth by Congress.
Second, while the points-based system could arguably provide adequate opportunities for highly skilled, highly educated workers to immigrate to the U.S., it would severely constrain the ability of less educated, essential workers to do so. These workers are vital to several industries and by limiting the ability for American employers to legally petition for these types of workers, we fear this change would exacerbate the current condition of illegal entry and unauthorized employment in the U.S.
Rather than supporting legislation like the RAISE Act that severely curtails legal immigration, the Chamber looks forward to working with Congress on commonsense immigration reform proposals that will boost, not hinder, economic growth and job creation.