I have been receiving questions about the immigration law proposal that Trump announced a couple of days ago. I understand that people are concerned, but I have been telling people not to worry about it. Let me explain why.
First – this is not a law already. It’s a bill, put forward for debate. Before a bill becomes law it must go through Congress and the Senate. This means committees, debate and so on. Both houses have to vote in favor of the bill and eventually, (if approved) it would go to Trump for signing to become law. That process will NOT happen fast.
The bill that Trump introduced is called the Raise act. The full wording of the Act can be seen here https://www.cotton.senate.gov/files/documents/170802_New_RAISE_Act_Bill_Text.pdf
The proposal would (among other things) eliminate the DV lottery. The general purpose of the suggested change is to move toward an immigration system that gives preference to people that will benefit the USA and be more likely to succeed. So – they would give preference on factors such as age, education, English speaking skills and so on.
In one sense – this is not a “bad” idea exactly – several countries have similar immigration systems – designed to favor the country with the “best and brightest” that can enhance the ability of the country. However, there are several “bad” things about the legislation being proposed.
It cuts immigration in **HALF** by not only eliminating the DV lottery, but eliminating certain family sponsored options to end or reduce “chain migration”, it also limits refugee numbers and so on. It is a MASSIVELY aggressive change in the immigration stance of the USA. Many Americans agree with that stance – but also there are MANY Americans that believe and are proud truly that the USA is a country of immigrants. There are very few “original” Americans – nearly all here have immigrant history. So – this aggressive stance is the first reason why I don’t believe this bill will pass.
The second reason is the lack of support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill was put forward MONTHS ago – and has been debated in similar form before – but there is not broad support among the decision makers for such changes.
The third reason is the timing. Up to now, Trump and his administration have achieved very little. Many Republicans are mystified why Trump has backed this bill at this time when there is more important work not getting done. They tried to implement the travel ban – and whilst some parts of that are in place, it is generally a failure and embarrassment to the administration. The Republicans have been criticizing Obamacare for YEARS, but now when they have the power to change that, it turns out they have no sensible plan and cannot reach agreement even within their own ranks. They want to pass very dramatic changes to taxation – another HUGE piece of work that will be hard to do and will take weeks of work. The Raise act is having to compete against those other priorities – to say nothing of the distraction of the Russian investigation that is consuming attention for many in Washington DC.
Lastly, the wording of the Act itself does little to suggest how the new procedures would be implemented and the reality is that USCIS would not be able to change to such a system overnight. It would take time – time that is not allowed for or even discussed in the act itself.
The whole thing just represents such a poor attempt at distracting from the real problems the administration has in the way it is operating. Recent firings of senior staff, lack of progress on anything meaningful, ongoing investigation into Trump and his buddies – all show the level of chaos surrounding the Whitehouse. Then Trump stands up and throws some meat to his base supporters. You have to understand that his supporters are statistically at the low end of the education scale. They generally lack the skills required to discern the true progress from the nonsense announcements on things like this bill.
So – I am confident there is no time, no interest and no ability to implement such a change before DV2018 starts. Once DV2018 has started this act (even if passed) would not come into effect until the start of the next year. That is in the wording of the act itself.
Could it be implemented in time to affect DV2019 – probably not in my opinion – and almost certainly not in the present form. But technically there would be enough time. But like I said – the timing issues aside – the act itself has little chance of passing.
After that, things are less clear – there would be general support for introduction of a points system if done correctly and without destroying the family based immigration that is an important feature of US immigration law. But that is not what the Raise act is offering at this time – and in 2018 the Republicans will most likely lose their controlling majority in the house, thus making it even harder to pass such changes. So – the DV lottery will probably come to an end – the question is when. And I don’t think the answer is anytime soon.