President Trump’s “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment” (RAISE) Act


LAST August 2, 2017, the Trump Administration endorsed new legislation called “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act” that would change the system of granting legal permanent residency. The act was introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA). (This is not a law yet. The bill must be approved by both the Senate and House of Representative and signed by the President for it to become the law of the land.)

Whether one agrees with the RAISE Act or not,  it is best to know and understand the changes that are being proposed due to its far-reaching implications with regards to the immigration system in the U.S.

Among other things, the RAISE Act:

• It limits family-based immigration only to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Minor children are defined those 18 years old.

• At present, U.S. citizens can petition their parents, adult children, and their siblings while permanent residents can petition their spouses, minor children and unmarried adult children.

• Currently, the minor child for immigration purposes is 21 years old or below.

• It replaces the employment-based immigration categories with an immigration-points system. The points-based immigration visa shall not exceed more than 140,000 per fiscal year.  Points assigned to an applicant shall be based on English language proficiency; educational attainment; age of the applicant; extraordinary achievement; job offer; and investment in, or active management of a new enterprise.

• It eliminates the Diversity Visa Program. Under the current system pursuant to Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a limited number of diversity visas per year are distributed among countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. A limited number of visas are available each fiscal year.

• It reduces the number of refugees who may be admitted to the US to a maximum of 50,000 per fiscal year.

If, when, how, and to what form the RAISE Act becomes a law is something everyone interested in US immigration must watch out for.

If you are contemplating of filing any immigration petition for that matter, it is advisable to seek the counsel of an immigration lawyer to guide you on the intricacies of filing for such a petition.

Atty. Gwendolyn Malaya-Santos is a member of the State Bar of California and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. To schedule for a free initial consultation, please call Tel. Nos. (213) 284-5984 or (626) 329.8215. Atty. Santos’ office is located at 3450 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200-105, Los Angeles, CA 90010.

Information contained in this article does not, nor is it intended to, constitutes legal advice for any specific situation and does not create a lawyer-client relationship. It likewise does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. n

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Atty. Gwendolyn Malaya-Santos is a member of the State Bar of California and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. To schedule for a free initial in-person consultation, please call

Tel. Nos. (213) 284-5984 or (626) 329-8215. Atty. Santos’ office is located at 3450 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200-105, Los Angeles, CA 90010.

* * *

Information contained in this article does not, nor is it intended to, constitutes legal advice for any specific situation and does not create a lawyer-client relationship. It likewise does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. 

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