RAISE, the immigration reform act endorsed by President Donald Trump, devised by Republican Senators Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) -- and debated with the press by White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller this week -- has become predictably controversial.
The purpose of the act, as the name Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy suggests, is to improve employment for Americans and raise wages by bringing skilled foreign workers to the United States on a point system similar to Canada and Australia. Points are awarded based on a potential employee's skill level, education, current job offers in the U.S., and their ability to speak English.
Syndicated columnist Reuben Navarrette, Jr. told fellow Latino Chris Salcedo, "English always prevails," during a spirited discussion of the new immigration plan on Friday's "Chris Salcedo Show." He strongly believes that most people who come to the United States eventually learn English, telling Chris, "We couldn't do this show in Spanish."
Chris felt overall that a merit-based system for approving work visas is an improvement for the American economy, whereas Navarrette argued that getting into the U.S. should not be like getting into Harvard or Yale. He says the plan reflects Washington D.C.'s detachment from the reality at the border, where immigrants are willing to tar a roof in 100 degree heat.
Chris argued that Americans would do those jobs, but his friend believes they price themselves out of the market. Chris noted it is not incumbent on the United States to accommodate other nations, which is a point both men somewhat agreed upon.
It is Navarratte's opinion that the skilled workers who come to the U.S. from China and India act like they are doing Americans a favor. Conversely, those with manual labor skills come with nothing, fall in love with the country, and have children who go on to do great things, including serve in the military.
Chris emphasized that the bill doesn't require higher skills or English speaking applicants, but does award points toward work visa distribution for those attributes.