California Daily Shines Light, Inadvertently, on RAISE Act Benefits

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

August 11, 2017
RAISE Act
Its vacation’s almost over, California Assembly Returns Soon to Vote on SB 54.
The Sacramento Bee recently published a story that, perhaps inadvertently, demonstrated how flawed chain migration has contributed to unsustainable population growth.

The story begins with the Bee identifying a young Hispanic, American-born citizen about to turn 21, the age at which he can petition for his family members to join him in the U.S. He wants to bring his parents, who might otherwise have to resort to illegal entry, to California.

The key sentence comes midway in the story: “Currently, U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses, parents [regardless of age or skill] and young, unmarried children for an uncapped pool of visas.” But they can also petition for all their brothers and sisters, who in turn can bring in their spouses, and their minor children, although those categories are capped.

Chain migration allows immigrants, and not the federal government, to decide who comes to the U.S. and who will qualify for the 250,000 lifetime work permits given out annually to foreign citizens in the chain.
The RAISE Act would limit chain migration to spouses and minor children, and shift immigration toward a common sense skilled-based system. Other RAISE Act benefits include eliminating the Diversity Visa and capping refugee resettlement at 50,000 per year.

An India-born, Canadian citizen and Sacramento immigration lawyer echoed concerns many advocates have about the RAISE Act, and its move away from chain migration. Specifically, he worries that if RAISE passes, his 75-year-old parents won’t be able to come to California to live with him. So he would be able to petition for them, the Canadian applied earlier this year for American citizenship. As the lawyer told the Bee: “If we’re not able to bring our parents here, it would be devastating. I think that’s the draconian part of what Trump’s proposing.”

The RAISE Act, however, would create a temporary, renewable visa for elder care-taking. And it wouldn’t mean that extended families couldn’t see each other. They could visit through the established visa process, but wouldn’t have permanent residency options.
 
Since 1990, chain migration has been largely responsible for annual legal immigration quadrupling to the million or more per year since 1990. The California Assembly is on summer break until August 21. Time is short. Take action now to block SB 54. Go to the updated CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your Assemblyman to reject SB 54, and to instead make the state a sanctuary for its citizens and legal permanent residents. Watch the CAPS TV ad here, and read the accompanying press release here.
 

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