Tom Cotton: Merit-Based Immigration ‘Step in Right Direction’ to Stop ‘Hurting Blue Collar Wages’

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) says President Trump’s merit-based legal immigration plan is a “step in the right direction” to stopping downward wage pressure and cheaper foreign competition against America’s blue collar and working class.

In an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily, Cotton said Trump’s newly unveiled immigration plan which gives priority to English-speaking, highly skilled, and highly educated foreign nationals is moving the country towards a national immigration policy that puts Americans first.

“We’re reserving final judgment until I see an actual bill of course. I would say it’s a step in the right direction for the way we approach our legal immigration system,” Cotton said:

It’s modeled in large part on the RAISE Act, which I introduced two years ago which would reorient our legal immigration system toward younger, higher skilled workers who speak English who could contribute to our economy from the very beginning on their first day here without hurting blue collar wages. I think that’s a step in the right direction. [Emphasis added]

“As far as the asylum crisis goes, it addresses a lot of the problems at the border that have resulted from well-intentioned laws that are now being abused by people seeking asylum for fraudulent or bogus reasons — oftentimes aided by American groups that are giving them talking points they need to get across our border — as well as providing the physical infrastructure that the border patrol needs to address the crisis at our southern border,” Cotton said. “So I want to see the final bill, of course, but it’s a step in the right direction for sure.”

Indeed, while Trump’s plan would implement mandatory E-Verify as well as a rigorous assimilation process that each foreign national would have to pass in order to obtain permanent residence, the plan fails to reduce the overall level of legal immigration at least on paper.

Cotton’s RAISE Act, on the other hand, boosts Americans’ wages and job prospects by reducing the flow of legal immigration from its current rate of 1.2 million admissions a year to 500,000 admissions a year. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) are both co-sponsors of the RAISE Act.

Both Trump’s plan and the RAISE Act, though, end the process known as “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S.

Chain migration has been used to import entire foreign villages to the U.S., as noted by the New York Times. Since 2005, 9.3 million foreign nationals have been able to resettle in the U.S. through chain migration. This huge inflow outpaces two years of American births, which amounts to roughly four million babies every year.

The number of extended-family foreign nationals who have resettled in the U.S. in the last decade is greater than the total combined population of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Cleveland.

At current legal immigration levels, the U.S. is on track to import about 15 million new foreign-born voters in the next two decades — the vast majority of which are likely to vote for Democrats, research by Axios, the New York Times, and Ronald Brownstein has revealed. Those 15 million new foreign-born voters include about eight million who will arrive in the country through chain migration.

The reduction of legal immigration levels would almost certainly not only boost wages for America’s working and middle class at a quicker pace than current trends, but also relieve labor market pressure, ensuring that U.S. workers are not forced to compete a never-ending flow of cheaper, foreign workers.

Research indicates that for every one-percent increase in the immigrant portion of American workers’ occupations, their weekly wages are cut by about 0.5 percent. This means the average native-born American worker today has his weekly wages reduced by perhaps 8.75 percent since 17.5 percent of the workforce is foreign born.

Every year, the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million foreign nationals, with more than 70 percent arriving through chain migration. In 2017, the foreign-born population reached a record high of 44.5 million. By 2023, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the legal and illegal immigrant population of the U.S. will make up nearly 15 percent of the entire U.S. population.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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