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Donald Trump's presidential campaign focused heavily on promises to reduce immigration to the United States, both legal and illegal. Image courtesy of AP Photo via Politico.

Donald Trump and his White House aides are working closely with Congress to push ahead a plan that would drastically reduce legal immigration to the United States.

The administration has shown a certain interest in a bill due to be released later in the summer by two Republican senators from Georgia.

Unveiled in its most primitive form in February, the contentious piece of legislature is entitled the RAISE Act. Sponsored by Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, the law would cut immigration into the United States by roughly 50%.

While scaling back illegal immigration from Mexico and the rest of Latin America has long been a priority for conservative politicians, a plan that to chip away at legal migration could prove to be controversial among members of both parties.

Among the first moves Donald Trump made after assuming office was to sign a travel ban limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States. AP Photo.

“Senator Cotton know that being more deliberate about who we let into our country will raise working-class wages, which is why an overwhelming majority of Americans support it. He and Senator Perdue are working with President Trump to fix our immigration system so that instead of undercutting American workers, it will support them and their livelihoods,” said Caroline Rabbitt, a spokeswoman for the senator.

Cotton’s controversial stance argues that low-skill immigrants decrease job opportunities for American citizens, particularly those with low incomes.

Such beliefs contradict those of prominent Republicans like John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) – the latter tends to advocate that the economy becomes more prosperous when inexpensive labor is made widely available.

Past efforts by Republicans to curb legal immigration have met with failure.

Politico recounts a 1996 effort by Republicans – led then by Newt Gingrich – to pressure then-President Bill Clinton into hacking down legal migration as part of a broad attempt at reforming immigration.

The proposal had to be dropped from the bill after Clinton came under fire from top American business leaders.

A senior administration official who purportedly spoke with Politico said the RAISE Act is but one of several planned attempts to reform immigration in the United States. He said that Trump hopes to limit citizenship and migration opportunities to individuals who pay taxes and earn high salaries, rather than those who might be struggling financially and taking advantage of welfare programs.

“In order to be eligible for citizenship, you’ll have to demonstrate you are self-sufficient and you don’t receive welfare,” said the official.

“You’re going to reduce low-skilled immigration substantially, which will protect American workers and recent immigrants themselves,” he continued.

Another official who spoke to Politico said that the push to curb legal migration into the United States is real, but admitted that “it’s a difficult one in the current Congress, and we know that.”

Sources

An Era of Uncertainty: Potential US Immigration Policy Changes Under the Trump Administration

Trump crafting plan to slash legal immigration

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