The RAISE Act is an anti-immigration bill sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. It contains some interesting ideas about changing our selection process from a family-based system to a merit-based system, but the main purpose of the law is to cut legal immigration in half.
Immigration is probably the most central wedge-issue in American politics today. It explains how we ended up with the peculiar President we have, and this subject highlights changing political dynamics that are bigger than the mere moment of the 2016 election.
When I first started writing for the Oregon Catalyst back in 2011, I’d tackle a topic like this by composing a two-thousand-word piece covering every aspect of the matter and then move on to other issues. Instead, I plan to write about immigration frequently, breaking the controversy down into small chunks that are more likely to get read.
When I apply my free-market, limited-government worldview to immigration, it makes me pro-immigration. In the past, my conservative friends would reply that they have no problem with legal immigration. They just hate illegal immigration.
Doubting their sincerity, I would sometimes call my friends’ bluff. If legal immigration is a good thing, then shall we stop making that good thing illegal? The same friends of mine who doubt the ability of the folks in Washington DC to centrally plan our economy would give me answers that in effect amounted to: “the smart folks in Washington DC know the right amount of labor to enter our country.” Too many Republicans love heavy-handed federal regulations when it comes to immigration.
The RAISE Act presents one of these revealing moments. How many people who have been telling us how much they like legal immigration will support cutting our legal immigration quotas in half?
Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the Author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change.