RAISE Act


Sec. 1: Short Title

RAISE Act (August 2017) Section-by-Section

• Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM Sec. 2: Elimination of Diversity Visa Program

  • Strikes INA §203(c) [Diversity immigrants] and makes technical and conforming amendments.

  • Effective Date = the first day of the first fiscal year on or after the date of enactment. REFUGEES

Sec. 3: Annual Admission of Refugees

  • Strikes INA §207(a) [Maximum number of admissions; increases for humanitarian concerns; allocations].

  • Strikes INA §207(b) [Determinations by President respecting number of admissions for humanitarian concerns].

  • Adds new INA §207(b), which caps the number of refugees who may be admitted in any fiscal year to 50,000 and requiring the President to “annually enumerate the number of aliens who were granted asylum in the previous fiscal year.”

FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION

Sec. 4: Family-Sponsored Immigration Priorities

CHANGES TO THE DEFINITIONS OF “CHILD” AND “IMMEDIATE RELATIVE”

  • Changes the definition of “Child” at INA §101(b)(1) from an unmarried person “under age 21” to an unmarried person “under age 18.”

  • Changes the definition of “Immediate Relative” at INA §201(b)(2)(A)(i) to include only children and spouses of U.S. citizens (removes parents of adult U.S. citizens).

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CHANGES TO THE FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

• Worldwide Limitations

o Creates new INA §201(c) [Worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants] to cap family-based admissions to 88,000 per fiscal year, less the number of individuals paroled into the U.S. under INA §212(d)(5) in the second preceding FY who (1) did not depart the U.S. (without advance parole) within 365 days and (2) did not become an LPR during the preceding two FYs or who became an LPR under a provision that exempts adjustment of status under the normal annual numerical limitations.

• Family-Based Preference System

o Amends INA §203(a) [preference allocation for family-based immigrants] to recognize only spouses and minor children of LPRs as eligible for family-based sponsorship, outside of immediate relatives.

o Eliminates the following categories: unmarried sons and daughters of USCs (FB-1); unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs (FB-2B); married sons and daughters of USCs (FB-3); and brothers and sisters of USCs (FB-4).

• Nonimmigrant Classification for Parents of Adult USCs

o Creates a new nonimmigrant category (W) at INA §101(a)(15)(W) for parents of U.S. citizen children who are at least 21 years of age.

o Creates new INA §214(s) to:

  •  Provide a 5 year initial period of authorization, with the option of extending nonimmigrant status for additional 5 year periods.

  •  Prohibit employment authorization for W nonimmigrants, and prohibit them from accepting any federal, state, or local public benefits.

  •  Requires the USC son or daughter to be responsible for the financial support for their parent(s), regardless of the parent(s) personal resources.

  •  Must also provide “satisfactory proof” that the USC son or daughter has arranged for health insurance coverage “at no cost to the alien” during their time in the United States.

  • Effective Date = The first day of the first FY that begins after the date of enactment.

  • Invalidity of Certain Petitions and Applications

o Invalidates any petition seeking classification under a family-based category that is eliminated by this Act, that was filed after the date the Act was introduced (August 2, 2017). Any application for an immigrant visa based on such a petition is also deemed invalid.

o However, any individual with an approved employment- or family-based immigrant visa under INA §203(a) or (b) as in effect on the day before enactment,

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and who is scheduled to receive an immigrant visa no more than 1 year after the date of enactment, is entitled to the visa if he or she enters the U.S. within 1 year of the date of enactment.

POINTS-BASED IMMIGRATION

Sec. 5: Replacement of Employment-Based Immigration Categories with Immigration Points System

  • Amends INA §201(a)(2) to cap the number of points-based immigrants to 140,000 (including spouses and children); or 70,000 during the first 6 months of the FY.

  • Amends INA §203(b): Application Process for Points-Based Immigrant Visas

o Points-Based applications are to be submitted online “for placement in the Eligible Applicant Pool.”

o Applications must include:  The identification of the points for which the applicant is eligible;

  •  Attestation that the applicant has sufficient documentation to verify the

points claimed;

  •  A fee of $160; and  Any other information required by USCIS regulation.

o Applications in the Eligible Applicant Pool shall be sorted by total points. o Applicants with equal points will be prioritized according to educational

attainment as follows, with applicants with U.S. degrees ranked higher than those with foreign degrees:

 Doctorate degree  Professional degree  Master’s degree  Bachelor’s degree  High school diploma  No high school diploma

o Applicants with equal points and equal educational attainment shall be ranked according to their English language proficiency test scores.

o Applicants with equal points, equal educational attainment, and equal English test scores will be ranked according to age, with applicants nearest their 25th birthdays ranked higher.

o Applicants stay in the Eligible Applicant Pool for 12 months. If they are not invited to apply for a visa in the 12 month period, they can reapply.

• Visa Petition

o Every 6 months, USCIS shall invite the highest ranked applicants to file a petition for a points-based IV. USCIS shall invite enough people to yield 50% of the points-based IVs authorized for the fiscal year.

o USCIS “shall” award a points-based IV to any applicant who filed a petition within 90 days of the invitation that includes:

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  •  Documentation in support of the points claimed;

  •  If applicable, an attestation from a prospective employer confirming the

salary offered and that the applicant is not displacing a U.S. worker;

  •  Proof of health insurance from a U.S. employer or evidence that a bond

has been posted to purchase health insurance; and  A fee of $345.

o If a petition that meets these requirements is received after the numerical limitation has been reached, the USCIS Director shall issue a points-based IV to the petitioner, delay admission of the individual and his/her dependents until the first day of the next FY, and reduced the number of points-based IVs that may be issued in that FY accordingly.

• Visas for Spouses and Children

o Provides for the issuance of a points-based IV to the legal spouse of an applicant upon approval of the visa petition for the principal.

o Provides for the issuance of a points-based IV to the minor children of an applicant upon approval of the visa petition for the principal, as long as the children were under age 18 at the time the petition is filed.

o Adult children of applicants who are unable to care for themselves may be admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis but are not authorized to work and cannot receive any other benefits of LPR status.

  • Inflation Adjustments o Fees in this section shall be adjusted every 2 years for inflation.

  • Ineligibility for Public Benefits

o A person granted a points-based IV, and all persons in his or her household, are ineligible for any Federal means-tested public benefit [defined at 8 USC §1613] for 5 years from the date the visa was issued.

Creates new INA §220, “Immigration Points System”

• Definitions

o English Language Proficiency Test: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS); the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or any other English proficiency test approved by USCIS that meets standards set by IELTS or TOEFL.

o English Language Proficiency Test Ranking: The decile rank of the applicants test score as compared to all other people who took the same test in the same period. USCIS (in consultation with the DOE) may adjust the decile rank of an applicant’s test score if the number of people taking the test is too small or skewed such that the decile rank is inconsistent with decile rank the applicant would have received if he or she had taken the IELTS or TOEFL.

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o High School: Defined by 20 USC §7801. o IELTS: International English Language Testing System. o Institution of Higher Education: Defined by 20 USC §1001. o Professional Degree: Includes Master of Business Administration, Doctor of

Jurisprudence, and Doctor of Medicine. o STEM: The academic discipline of science, technology, engineering, or

mathematics. o TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language.

• Points. An applicant may submit an application to be placed in the Eligible Applicant Pool if he or she has accrued 30 points. Points are allocated as follows:

o Age: Age is determined as of the date on which the application for placement in the Eligible Applicant Pool is submitted.

 0 – 17:  18–21:

May not submit an application 6 points 8 points 10 points

8 points 6 points 4 points 2 points 0 points

22– 26– 31– 36– 41– 46–  51+:

25: 30: 35: 40: 45: 50:

o Education: Education points may be accrued only for the highest degree obtained as of the date the application for placement in the Eligible Applicant Pool is submitted. USCIS and DOE must maintain and regularly update a list of foreign educational institutions and degrees that meet accreditation standards equivalent to those recognized by major U.S. accrediting agencies and are approved for purposes of accruing points.

 U.S. or Foreign High School Degree:  Foreign Bachelor’s Degree:  U.S. Bachelor’s Degree:  Foreign STEM Master’s Degree:

 U.S. STEM Master’s Degree:  Foreign Professional Degree or Doctoral STEM:  U.S. Professional Degree or Doctoral STEM:

1 point 5 points 6 points 7 points 8 points 10 points 13 points

o English Language Proficiency: Points for English language proficiency are accrued based on the highest test ranking of the applicant as of the date the application for placement in the Eligible Applicant Pool is submitted.

 1st – 5th Deciles:  6th and 7th Deciles:  8th Decile:

0 points 6 points 10 points

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 9th Decile: 11 points  10th Decile: 12 points

o Extraordinary Achievement: Points for “extraordinary achievement” may be accrued as follows:

  •  Nobel Laureate or comparable recognition in a scientific or social scientific study = 25 points.

  •  Individual Olympic medal or first place in an international sporting event in which the majority of the best athletes in an Olympic sport were represented, within 8 years preceding the date the application for placement in the Eligible Applicant Pool is submitted = 15 points.

o Job Offer: Points for “highly compensated employment” may be accrued as follows

  •  Annual salary offered is 150% but less than 200% of the median household income in the state of employment = 5 points.

  •  Annual salary offered is 200% but less than 300% of the median household income in the state of employment = 8 points.

  •  Annual salary offered is at least 300% of the median household income in the state of employment = 13 points.

However, an applicant may not be placed in the Eligible Applicant Pool if he or she has a bachelor’s degree or less, and does not accrue any points for “highly compensated employment.”

o Investment in and Active Management of a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE): Points for foreign investment may be accrued as follows:

  •  Investment of $1.35 million in a U.S. NCE, maintain the investment for 3 years and play active role in managing the NCE as their primary occupation = 6 points.

  •  Investment of $1.8 million in a U.S. NCE, maintain the investment for 3 years and play active role in managing the NCE as their primary occupation = 12 points.

A points-based IV issued to an applicant who accrued investment-based points shall be rescinded if the applicant fails to meet the requirements above for a period of more than 1 year.

o Valid Offer of Admission Under Family Preference Category: An alien with an immigrant visa petition that was granted under INA §203(a) as in effect on the day before enactment of the RAISE Act is entitled to 2 points if: (1) he or she was scheduled to receive an IV but did not receive an IV during the 1 year period from the date of enactment.

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o Effect of a Spouse on Accrual of Points: An applicant with a spouse who is accompanying or following to join must identify the points the spouse would accrue if he or she was applying for a points-based IV. For each points category:

  •  If the points accrued by the spouse is the same or higher as those accrued by the applicant, the number shall not be adjusted.

  •  If the points accrued by the spouse are lower than the points accrued by the applicant, the points accrued by the applicant shall be adjusted as follows: 70% of the points accrued by the applicant for the category + 30% of the points accrued by the spouse for the category.

  • Annual Report: One year after the date of enactment and every year thereafter, the DHS Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that includes for the previous FY:

o The number of points-based IVs issued; and o With respect to aliens placed in the Eligible Applicant Pool and aliens invited to

submit a points-based IV petition:

  •  The percentage of applicants seeking residence in each state;

  •  The percentage of applicants in each of the educational attainment

categories;

  •  The percentage of applicants in each of the English proficiency categories;

  •  The initial U.S. employer of such applicants and the average starting

salary offered by U.S. employers; and

  •  The number of applicants agreeing to invest in an NCE and the percentage

in each investment category.

  • Quadrennial Report: No more than 4 years after the date of enactment, and every 4 years thereafter, DHS, in consultation with DOL, Commerce, and DOS shall submit a report to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and Foreign Relations/Foreign Affairs Committees that includes any recommended revisions to the points-based system. Recommendations shall be designed to achieve increasing per capita GDP growth, enhancing economic success of points-based immigrants, improving the fiscal health of the U.S. and protecting/increasing wages for U.S. workers.

NATURALIZATION

Sec. 6: Prerequisite for Naturalization

• Amends INA §318 to prohibit naturalization of an individual if the person who submitted an affidavit of support on his or her behalf failed to reimburse the federal government for all means-tested public benefits received by the individual during the 5 year period immediately after the individual became an LPR.


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