Immigration reform is by and large, the issue that is dominating national and state politics. In 216, then-candidate Donald Trump ran on a pro-legal, anti-illegal immigration platform that resonated with many, many American voters.
Now immigration reform is once again front-and-center because the president passed the pressing DACA issue over to the congress for a legislative solution, opening the discussion of what to do with the millions more illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.
The most recent legislative fix proposed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the Trump-supported Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE Act) is being welcomed by Hispanics from all walks of life.
While the RAISE Act isn’t seeing much movement, the tenets of the bill appeal to many Hispanics.
Here is what the bill calls for:
-Cut legal immigration into the US by half
-Ends chain migration
-Caps refugee immigration admission to 50,000 a year
-Ends the visa diversity lottery program
In late 2017, a group of Florida-based Hispanic businessmen, activists, pastors, and media personalities penned a letter to Democratic Senator Bill Nelson asking him to support the RAISE Act. The group outlined all the points in the Act itself.
Here is the letter:
December 2nd, 2017
The Honorable Bill Nelson United States Senate 716 Hart Office Building Washington, DC. 20510
Dear Senator Nelson:
As much or more than any community in Florida, we understand how important immigration is to our economy and the tremendous impact it has on individual families. Hispanic Floridians still believe America is a land of unparalleled opportunity and it is a privilege to come here. We want our children to enjoy the American Dream of finding good jobs that will allow them to provide their own families with a bright future. That is why we strongly urge you to support the RAISE Act, which has been proposed by your colleagues, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.
The RAISE Act stands for “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy.” Like many issues in our country today, there are multiple viewpoints on immigration ranging from the extremely liberal to the ultra-conservative. However, the RAISE Act offers commonsense reforms that appeal to everyone on all sides of the issue. Very few disagree that our current immigration system is in desperate need of reform, and certainly all Americans want our country’s economic engine to continue to stay on track and gather steam.
But our current system is simply not designed to meet the demands of the 21st Century economy. As the world moves toward a knowledge and innovation economy, only one out of every 15 immigrants to the United States comes here because of his or her skills. It is time for us to prioritize high-skilled immigrants who spur innovation, create jobs, and make America competitive in the global economy. The RAISE Act will do that while stemming the tide of unskilled immigrants that puts downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with the most recent immigrants’ wages the hardest hit.
Senator Nelson, the RAISE Act’s four key provisions make it the best way to move forward on immigration reform. Establishing a skills-based points system like the ones Canada and Australia use would prioritize the immigrants who are best positioned to succeed here and contribute to our economy. RAISE eliminates the outdated Diversity Lottery that is arbitrary and plagued with fraud. This legislation also caps the number of refugees offered permanent residency at 50,000, which is in line with a 13-year average. Finally, it prioritizes immediate family.
This is particularly important to those of us who put such a premium on family connections. The RAISE Act ends chain migration by keeping immigration preferences for spouses and minor children of U.S. residents, which encourages the unification of nuclear families. However, the bill contains an important provision that allows U.S. citizens who need to bring elderly parents to the U.S for caretaking to obtain temporary visas for them.
Like all Americans, those of us in the Hispanic community want a strong economy so we can earn a living and support our families. Hispanic entrepreneurs make an enormous impact on our economy, contributing over $90 billion each year to Florida’s economy. We want business owners and employees to flourish. That is why we believe it is so important to prioritize those immigrants who will bring value to our economy rather than drain it.
Throughout your career, you have been a solid advocate in Congress for all Floridians. The RAISE Act represents an opportunity for rare bipartisan cooperation on an issue of great significance to many Americans, especially your constituents. We urge you to work with your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this way forward on immigration that all Americans can get on board with.
Sincerely, Pastor Reenier Aleman (Pastor – Grace Awakening Church)
Daisy Concepcion (College Professor at Valencia State College)
Frank DeVarona (Author and President of the Keep Government Accountable Coalition)
Pastor Javier Figueroa (Pastor – Centro de la Familia Cristiana)
Juan Fiol (Realtor and Miami-Dade County Civic Activist)
Julio Fuentes (President – Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)
Yesenia Franqui (Nurse Practitioner and Miami-Dade County Civic Activist)
Mark Garces, J.D. (Attorney and Polk County Hispanic Activist)
Mariano Gonzalez (Radio Personality in Central Florida)
Luis R. Hernandez (Radio Personality in Central Florida)
Jennifer Maceo (Director of Projects – Central Florida Urban League)
Alci Maldonaldo (Former Commissioner, Florida Commission on the Status of Women)
Pastor Rafael Mojica (Pastor – Iglesia Comunidad de Fe)
Dr. Miriam Ramirez (Former State Senator in Puerto Rico)
Bishop Frank Picon (Senior Pastor – Comunidad Cristiana Eterno Pacto)
Dr. Roberto Ramirez (Family Doctor and Puerto Rican activist)
Jose “Quique” Ramos (Vice-President – CFL Properties)
Arminda Rivero (Realtor and Cuban-American activist)
Pastor Jesus Manuel Torres (Pastor – Centro Cristiano Restauricion)