President Donald J. Trump is proposing a new immigration system relying on a calculation of points for the U.S. that appears to be remarkably similar to Canada’s system, at first glance. Being called the RAISE Act, the system mimics Canadian immigration requirements only in the fact that it uses points, rather than specific qualifiers, to determine who gains entry and who doesn’t.
The idea of a points system isn’t all bad. After all, it’s working quite successfully for the Great White North, filtering out those who would be a drain on the system while supporting those who can support themselves and contribute.
But that’s about where the similarities stop
The new revised RAISE act is very restrictive — so restrictive that 500,000 of the current yearly immigrants would no longer qualify to legally enter the United States to stay.
Age is the first qualifier:
- 18 to 21 – 6 points
- 22 to 25 – 8 points
- 26 to 30 – 10 points
- 31 to 35 – 8 points
- 36 to 40 – 6 points
- 41 to 45 – 4 points
- 46 to 50 – 2 points
Anyone over or below these numbers would not receive any points for age.
The next qualifier is education:
- High school diploma – 1 point
- Foreign Bachelor’s degree – 5 points
- US Bachelor’s degree – 6 points
- Foreign Master’s degree in STEM fields – 7 points
- US Master’s degree – 8 points
- Foreign Professional degree or Doctorate – 10 points
- US Professional degree or Doctorate – 13 points
Points are also given for English proficiency; hold between 60 and 80 percent proficiency and you’ll be awarded six points. Immigrants with between 80 and 90th percentile proficiency get 10 points, while those with 90 to 100 get 11 points. Immigrants with fluency get 12 points.
Trump’s RAISE changes would also grant points if immigrants have a pre-existing job offer before they come. If the job offer pays a minimum of 150 percent of America’s median household income, they get 5 points. The act gives 5 points if the job pays 200 percent the current median, and eight points if it pays 300 percent.
The new RAISE act also gives a large point bonus to foreign investors who invest a minimum of $1.35 million into the United States or businesses within it. Investors must be primary management and must hold the business or investment for a minimum of three years first.
One of the biggest changes is to the spousal program; simply being married wouldn’t be enough to emigrate. Spouses must also meet the rubric on their own.
TIME magazine created a quiz-style calculator allowing American citizens to see if they would qualify for immigration if they were a foreigner themselves. Many Americans are surprised to discover that they don’t qualify, despite being productive citizens with a robust income and/or excellent education. Simply having a middle-class job, a high school diploma, and being in your 30s, for example, nets you 9 points lower than the required 30 points.
Trump believes such a move will reduce poverty for Americans and increase raises across the board by ensuring more jobs are available to the average American. The POTUS also claimed the move would save Americans “billions and billions of dollars.”
Would you qualify for immigration based on TIME’s calculator? If not, how far are you from qualifying for citizenship? Leave your thoughts on the new system in the comments.