back to article Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed

Having decided to move on from healthcare, the Trump administration has backed proposed legislation that would markedly overhaul America's immigration process. The H-1B visa system – which tech bosses rely on to fly in foreigners to swell office ranks – isn't explicitly mentioned in the Reforming American Immigration for a …

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Another flatulent outburst

The legislation will require support from the House of Reps and Democrats in the Senate to proceed.

The chances of Congress acting on this proposal fall between zero and nil; it's another White House distraction from the Russia investigations. Legislative support for any new White House proposals in the face of a storm of flatulent Presidential rants has diminished to a vanishing point.

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Holmes

Actually

Merit-based immigration reforms of some form have very broad-based support among American politicians and voters. And the high-tech companies who claim to oppose it don't really, because it benefits them if written the right way.

Regardless, your multiple references to flatulence made for quality reading.

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Re: Actually

"Flatulent" used here to express displeasure with the winds of dishonesty wafted from the halls of the Executive Branch since January. One could have said "distaste" for endless lies, prevarications, deceptions, delusions, inventions, and endemic disrespect for truth and honor... but that's such a revolting mouthful, no? In truth, the deliberate distractions are real, and the "fake media" has yet to truly grasp the fat Gollum with the Golden Hair that defies all considerations of normal discourse and reason. The President has absolutely no concern for immigrant workers beyond playing the issue as a pawn to entice his base supporters and to distract his detractors.

Ask the national leader of the US Boy Scouts if he did indeed call Trump to congratulate him on "the greatest speech ever" to the Scouts. (No, he didn't.) Only in the alternate reality that lives under all that hairspray was it true. Lie about the little things. Lie about the great things. Lie about all things. Lies destroy trust. Without trust, there is nothing.

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Re: Actually

President has absolutely no concern for immigrant workers

Other than ensuring that the steady flow of low-wage peons to work in his properties.

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Re: Another flatulent outburst

> The chances of Congress acting on this proposal fall between zero and nil

And that's actually why I voted for the bloke. I figured he'd deadlock things so hard, nothing significant would get done. I'd much rather have a government too incompetent to do anything than a government doing all the wrong things.

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Re: Another flatulent outburst

" I'd much rather have a government too incompetent to do anything than a government doing all the wrong things."

Be careful what you wish for. What we have is a government doing deliberately evil and destructive things to great effect, while incompetent to do anything positive. Not to mention being exceedingly corrupt even by comparison with a century's worth of US administrations.

I fail to see any sense in deliberately throwing a grenade into the works of government; it would be far better to work toward a government that furthers rational policies you agree with -- assuming that rational policies are your goal. (I've met enough folks who voted for that nutjob explicitly in order to break the government that rationality cannot be assumed here.)

Immobilizing the government might have been relatively harmless in the 1790s, but it's a lethally bad idea in the 21st century. Drop the ball on climate change, pollution control, voter disenfranchisement, and everything to do with civil rights? Abandon all allies and threaten other nuclear-armed nutjobs? Deliberately destabilize the health insurance markets, such as they are? People will die on account of this stuff. It is indefensible.

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Re: Another flatulent outburst

Not to mention the fact this bill does not actually require Democratic support in the Senate because the Republicans hold a 52 to 48 seat majority and therefore don't require Dem support to pass bills.

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Holmes

"Muh Russia Investigations ... will yield something any time now ... any time!"

It's another White House distraction from the Russia investigations.

It's been about 12 months now. At this point, even Pizzagate has more raw evidence.

Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?

Yeah, that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another flatulent outburst

Not to mention the fact this bill does not actually require Democratic support in the Senate because the Republicans hold a 52 to 48 seat majority and therefore don't require Dem support to pass bills.

Not from around here, it seems. Or maybe just another Merican ignorant of how the Senate works.

Look up "Filibuster in the United States Senate".

That and the fact that the Republicans range from "moderate" [sane-ish] to "tea party" [loonies], and it's hard to appeal to both ends of the spectrum. [see Obamacare repeal].

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Re: Actually

Actually it seems very very fair and people friendly especially as it allows people to come to the USA do post grad here and then get favoritism for residency... few people realize that the existing system is a form of endemtioured labor (aka slavery) as you loose status if you leave a company unless you can get the new company to take over sponsorship... it's rumored that this gets abused with companies paying for the green card to slow the process as much as they can... and yes I went through the process as did many of my friends...

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Re: "Muh Russia Investigations ... will yield something any time now ... any time!"

>It's been about 12 months now.

It took two years to bring down Nixon.

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Re: Actually

The current preference system for Green Cards -- immigrant visas -- dates from the 1960s and was designed to correct for the lack of diversity in immigration. It has succeeded spectacularly but with the unfortunate side effect that that skilled workers who want to immigrate to the US often have inordinately long waits to get their paperwork processed, waits of 5 years or more being common. This points system is just updating the preference system, its long overdue (although I think more weight should be given to a degree plus relevant experience).

The ethnic imbalance caused by the 1960s changes, changes that largely favored immigrants from Asia and Central America, was the reason for creating the Diversity Lottery. This turned out to be grossly unfair -- people from the UK didn't qualify but Irish people certainly did. (I personally have worked with two people who came here via that lottery -- you'd think this would be a statistical fluke, but it turns out that 'Diversity' really means 'Irish'!)

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Anonymous Coward

Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Note that Canada, which has 1/10th of the US population, welcomes a bit over 50 thousand immigrants per year under the Skilled category, which this proposed system seems to be based on. 140K per year sounds like a drop in a bucket for a country this size.

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Holmes

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Canada also relies much more heavily on foreign workers from everything I've been reading. Similar to Germany maybe? An aging, less tech-savvy populace, so you've got to import a lot of young talent?

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

and ironically Canada is becoming one of the best educated countries on the world "despite" all those bloody foreigners.

One of the few countries on my "places I'd consider emigrating to" list.

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Perhaps our exclusionary-minded President should consider a northern wall along the US border with Canada, to stem the flight. BBC reports that Montreal has opened its Olympic stadium to accommodate a flood of migrants from the US, who are overwhelming available holding facilities.

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Boffin

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Note that Canada's Work Permit system requires that "the Canadian employer must first demonstrate that unsuccessful efforts were made to hire Canadian residents for the position being offered to the foreign worker".

I'm not sure if this is "requirement" is more than political window dressing, not being a Canadian employer or employee myself!

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

The"requirement"is in fact window dressing. A Stats Canada report this week shows Tagalog as the fastest growing immigrant language group in several provinces.

This isn't because of an influx of Filipino doctors and lawyers, it's the result of tens of thousands of minimum wage employees being flown in to work at Tim Hortons Donots and McDonalds.

Contrast these with so-called "investor class," who buy up a random company in order to get their family in the door.

I'm actually very pro-immigration, even for brown-skinned people, but would never suggest that Canada's immigration rules are a model to be emulated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

@Lost all faith... "Canada is becoming one of the best educated countries on the world" ....

Wow, I find that hard to believe. I worked for a big Canadian firm for 10 years and only one of the many smart ones I met was educated in Canada.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Canada also relies much more heavily on foreign workers from everything I've been reading. Similar to Germany maybe? An aging, less tech-savvy populace, so you've got to import a lot of young talent?

I think you will find that Canada and Germany are simply a bit more open about having to rely on foreign workers. Highly-educated and competent people with specialized skills are fairly scarce these days, so you just have to take them where you can find them. No country or race has a monopoly on smart people or on good education.

Unless you feel like you are the great galactic empire, which is the bestest of them all, there is no need to be bashful about needing some help from outside, is there?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

I'm not sure if this is "requirement" is more than political window dressing, not being a Canadian employer or employee myself!

I am, and most of the time it is.

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

"The"requirement"is in fact window dressing. A Stats Canada report this week shows Tagalog as the fastest growing immigrant language group in several provinces.

This isn't because of an influx of Filipino doctors and lawyers, it's the result of tens of thousands of minimum wage employees being flown in to work at Tim Hortons Donots and McDonalds"

OK, sneer at the burger-flippers, but their kids will be eating your kid's lunch. The people who immigrate may not be the best educated, but they came because they saw a better chance for their kids. They push them and work like crazy for them. They are flipping burgers, doing some side business like hairdressing or housecleaning, and saving up to be better or have better for their future. As a second generation USAian, my family valued education, and instilled a work ethic that says you do any honest job that pays or start your own business (sometimes both) to keep thriving.

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

"Wow, I find that hard to believe. I worked for a big Canadian firm for 10 years and only one of the many smart ones I met was educated in Canada."

That is because a large number of the Canadians, especially in the medical and hi tech fields, end up working in the US. But we also manage to attract a lot of highly qualified immigrants.

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

The "migrants" flooding Canada are coming from south of the US border. President Trump has them so scared that they will be rounded up and deported that they are pressing on to Canada where they think they'll get a better deal (A free iPhone, free food, free housing and support for a large herd of kids). It's not the Hollywood elite that threatened to leave the US if Trump was elected president. Campaign promises, it appears.

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Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

"Highly-educated and competent people with specialized skills are fairly scarce these days, so you just have to take them where you can find them."

That's hard to believe when put along side the reports of massive student debt in the US generated by people getting degrees. It's also worth noting that companies don't train people the way they would in the past and HR departments aren't competent enough to spot when an applicant's skill set is comparable to what is being asked when it's not an exact match.

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Anonymous Coward

Translation

"This is not the right proposal to fix our immigration system"

Translation: This is not delivering the cheap slave labour we need.

IMO, any immigration system that puts educational census requirements on spouse and most importantly parent import is the right choice. This will stop the import of mother in-law with a "son in law development plan" which can be formulated in one sentence "My son in law will be a manager, so I can proudly cart him around the village". I have seen more than one good engineer degenerate into a lousy greasy pole climber under such in-law and spouse directions, so anything preventing that is a good idea in my book.

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Anonymous Coward

"...but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens," said President Donald Trump."

It will take a lot more than this to do that.

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@AC - "It will take a lot more than this to do that."

But this is called the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act. Any politician that votes against reforming American immigration for a strong economy must be a traitor to the American people.

Yes, I do find the habit of using silly naming as a pathetic attempt to blackmail legislators into support very childish.

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Unhappy

"Nor will the H-2B visa system, which the President uses to staff his resorts"

Should tell you exactly all you need to know about the prime goals of such "reform"

But the fact it's p**sing off Google and FB is a good thing.

As for "consensus" in Congress only in America, where the Republican party has an absolute majority in both houses (y'known, like Teresa May had, before she called the unnecessary election and the British public discovered she won the internal Conservative power struggle by being the unity candidate IE a personality free chatbot) would you still need this to be the case before you can get legislation passed.

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This isn't a terrible idea

The main problem many will have is cutting the number of immigrants down, but that's something a lot of conservatives have run on so it was to be expected. If you ignore that part of it I think the points system is the right way to do it. Obviously you can quibble with it in terms of what 'x' should be worth, and I think it would work better if there was a threshold of points above which we'll take anyone who wants to come instead of having quotas, but other than that it is a good start.

The salary thing is rather like what I've been saying for years we should do to fix the H1B, except I'd link it to percentages of the average salary in a given location. 300% of the median US salary is a lot less than 300% the median salary in San Francisco or Manhattan. The H1B is terrible in all ways - it lowers salaries of tech workers, is a gigantic pain for companies to bring in employees, and removes the freedom of H1B workers to seek a better job without losing their green card.

From what I hear on the news (the "fake news" for you Trumpists) the bill as it stands has no chance of passing congress, but if they took away the hard limits and made them point limits, and tweaked the points, If expanded to cover more cases, it could simplify US immigration policy by subsuming a bunch of different <letter><number><dash><letter> coded programs into one via the points system. If it makes it more expensive for Trump to import maids for his resorts...well boo fucking hoo!

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Re: This isn't a terrible idea

It is indeed quite probable that the thralls, who were assigned by the one-percenters to populate the Senate, will vote this down like they did with oDummer-Care.

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Facepalm

Re: This isn't a terrible idea

@naive - "oDummer-Care"

That's a wonderful play on words, you must be really proud.

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Re: This isn't a terrible idea

That's a wonderful play on words, you must be really proud.

Hey, a little respect! He's also the guy who coined "Windoze."

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Re: This isn't a terrible idea

The hard right seems to think name calling is really fashionable. Even before Trump started coming up with nicknames for all those he hated like 'low energy Jeb', 'Pocahontas', etc. they came up with a million ways to think they're clever with stuff like Obummer, OBAKA (not sure why they capitalize that one, maybe it stands for something) and of course their favorite, 'Killary'.

I guess this is the height of what passes for intellectualism on Breitbart's message boards or something.

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"Sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens"

You know they are just taking the piss when they being out this sort of crap.

Did he keep a straight face when he said it?

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Re: "Sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens"

Did he keep a straight face when he said it?

In the universe inside his head (why am I getting flashbacks to Rimmer-world?) he probably believes it's true.

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Does he know that countries with points based systems are usually trying to boost the numbers of people coming in?

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If you get 50 points

You're automatically through to the swimsuit round with an opportunity to meet the President in the changing room.

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Trollface

Should have called it FLACCID...

Foreigners Leaving America and Coming to Canada InsteaD

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Coat

Re: Should have called it FLACCID...

@ Malle-Herbert:

Might just explain why they're deploying the Big O en Montreal as an immigration checkpoint.

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Re: Should have called it FLACCID...

"Might just explain why they're deploying the Big O en Montreal as an immigration checkpoint."

Canada doesn't want a load of non-english speaking (or French) unskilled laborers clogging up their system either.

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Coat

" Should have called it FLACCID... "

Anyone want to have a go at "FLOPPY" ?

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FAIL

I'm sure..

..that whatever the original intention is, that if it comes from his administration, that it will be needlessly cruel, poorly-implemented, and breathtakingly idiotic, and that the people in charge of making it happen will turn over several times as they walk out or get fired.

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Re: I'm sure..

What a hater. This admin has done many things that have helped the citizens of the USA. You need to broaden your news horizons.

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Never got the Points System

Surely, relying on a points system would mean all the best jobs go to foreigners and all the unskilled rubbish jobs go to locals because there won't be any immigrants to do the crap jobs. Wouldn't it be better to improve education and then limit skilled immigrants thus providing more high paid jobs for locals and allowing in the unskilled people to do the menial jobs?

Am I missing something here?

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Re: Never got the Points System

In this particular scenario you need to take a look at Trump's business interests, those of his family and then the people who voted for him.

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Re: Never got the Points System

He was a businessman then, president now. I think he might have spotted the change in job title along the way.

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Re: Never got the Points System

Given that he has been lining his own pockets and those of his family at every oppertunity, if he has noticed he doesn't care.

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Re: Never got the Points System

The points system is there to keep the unskilled out. Most countries have problems with keeping their unskilled, low-skilled, and semi-skilled labor in decent paying jobs. So it makes sense to keep out as much these out as it does to get the highly skilled. Also, most skilled labor that will come in will likely be in STEM and closely related fields. Also, the overall simplification of the process will make it harder to game the system (H-1B visas for example).

What I have seen reported indicates this is a good first step to actually getting a realistic immigration reform. But of course, the devil is in the details. As far as getting through America's Native Criminal Class (M. Twain), it depends on whether the elephants can stay together and if any donkeys sign on. The elephants theoretically could pass this as they have a majority in both houses.

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Pint

The Information Technology Industry Council, AKA "Isn't It Ironic".

One of the few things Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could agree on? College is for chumps. Yet look at who is complaining about not having enough "STEM-skilled Americans". The problem is that we've forgotten how we got where we are. Which is also true of our immigration system.

Once upon a time America was the dumping ground of debtor prisons and escapees from oppressive religious or political states. It was a place people could come to Start Over. And we did. We made something of ourselves because we were given the opportunity to make something of ourselves. Not with pieces of paper, but with life and reality.

Now? Bah. Good luck! No matter where you come from, American or looking to immigrate, you're just as SoL. It's a lose-lose economy bought and paid for by businesses, for businesses. Even the wild card Trumped-Up doesn't seem capable of defying it in spite of being an unpredictable Agent of Chaos.

What I don't get is why anyone even wants to live in America anymore.

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