Under the RAISE Act, There Would Be No RAISE Act

Sorry for the perplexing/recursive title on this post, but as you will see, it is designed to show how silly some of the rhetoric on immigration policy (on “many sides”) has become.

Let’s start with an article in the Washington Post titled “Under Trump’s New Immigration Rule, His Own Grandfather Likely Wouldn’t Have Gotten In.” Grandpa Trump (actually Trumpf) simply wouldn’t have had enough work skills, facility in English and so on to qualify for immigration under the point system proposed in the RAISE Act, endorsed by the Trump administration.

Very true, and let’s note an even more existential point: Donald Trump would not exist (nor would his father etc.). Same for Stephen Miller, Trump’s White House adviser who apparently was involved in drafting RAISE. No, Miller wouldn’t exist.

For that matter, Norm Matloff wouldn’t exist. My dad immigrated to the U.S. with his parents from Lithuania and my mom’s parents came from Austria. I don’t know the details, but it’s a safe bet that they wouldn’t have qualified under RAISE either. So, no Norm Matloff would exist to write the post you are now reading.

Using a similar argument, it’s likely that the ancestors of Senators Cotton and Perdue, authors of RAISE, wouldn’t have garnered many points under RAISE; facility in English, maybe, but no special skills, no STEM degree, and my goodness, no Nobel Prize.  So, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue would not exist either.

Uh, wait a minute…so there would be no RAISE Act either. Yep, under the RAISE Act, there would be no RAISE Act. And even if there were such an Act, there would be no President Trump to endorse it, nor would there be a Stephen Miller to introduce it, nor would there be a Norm Matloff to make fun of the whole process.

This Alice in Wonderland-ish game is fun, but it also shows how silly the arguments on immigration can become, especially sanctimonious ones like that in the Post article.

But there’s more. There’s something the Post isn’t telling you here, a key point:

Under PRESENT immigration policy, none of those people cited by the Post would likely have qualified to come to the U.S. either. Friedrich Trumpf didn’t have sponsoring American siblings, sponsoring American children, a sponsoring American spouse, a sponsoring American employer, refugee status or a claim to political asylum. His only chance would be the Diversity Lottery, a long shot to say the least. Luckily for him (and for the Post, which would have nothing to write about without our newsworthy president), immigration policy was quite lax at that time. But TODAY, forget it, Friedrich! Current policy just would not accept you.

In other words, the Post is setting up a straw man, trashing RAISE for what actually is the same “deficiency” in our current policy.

Mind you, I still don’t like RAISE, for a reason not entirely different from the point being made by the Post. I don’t like point system-based immigration policies, because I prefer a mix, socioeconomically and otherwise, in our immigrants. But I don’t like people trying to fool me with mind games either, which is what the Amazon Post is doing here.




13 thoughts on “Under the RAISE Act, There Would Be No RAISE Act

  1. Playing with the time paradox, eh? Go back and shoot your grandpa and see what happens? We could carry this along another step and ask what senators sponsored the H-1B legislation to begin with. Trump’s rule might well eliminate those fellows as well, so there would be no H-1B laws, no H-1B issues and no Norm to write about it, and so on and so on…


  2. The problem with your circular rhetoric is that the context is wrong. Your ancestors arrived in an America hungry for settlement and workers. Most of the eastern Europeans were leaving the Austrian-Hungarian Empire’s crumbling economy and seeking work in a country that wanted and needed them. Many were taken off the boats and shipped straight into the heartland. None of that is true today.

    We don’t need any of the people coming over now and we know it. I doubt you will publish this, as you did not publish another comment I made along these lines. Removing statues from public parks and empty empathy politics is not working, because we are living with the consequences of a generation worth of neoliberal nonsense.


  3. Normally your posts are quite interesting and nuanced, but I don’t think so today. A few items.

    1. This is 2017, not 1880. We’re asking for trouble if we bring in large numbers of folks from countries that are effectively from the 15th century.

    2. We have tens of millions of low-skilled American workers who need work and skills!

    3. On top of this, we have somewhere between 20 and 40 million illegal immigrants to deal with. Most are low skilled. Go to the Canal District in Marin, the Mission in the city, or Monument Blvd in Concord. We also need to integrate prisoners who are released into society.

    4. I thought the work of former Congress woman Barbara Jordan formed the basis of this Reform Act. For the PC crowd, she was a Democrat, African American, and we learned upon her death gay. What a voice!

    I have not read the full act, but I am highly suspicious of the Amazon Post and MSM. For example they laughably will continue to trot out the 12 million illegal immigrant number, which is beyond a bald-faced lie. And they have been using this silly figure for years (as if illegal crossings stopped).


    • I agree with your points, but have the view I expressed about a mix nonetheless.

      As far as I am conerned, the main value of RAISE would be to end the ability of Americans to sponsor adult siblings and the Americans’ parents for immigration. (Parents would be allowed as nonimmigrant longterm visitors.) This by itself would greatly reduce the volume and fiscal expense of legal immigration. No need to go to a points system.


  4. Great catch, Norm. I get it. Plenty of times we see the Mudstream Media complain about something new/old, without telling us that the old/new version is just as bad.

    I wonder if my Mom would have made it? As a native Austrian, she came over after marrying my Dad, who was stationed in Austria right after WWII. What effect, if any, would RAISE have on her situation?


  5. If my parents had decided to go to different colleges, I would not be here. If the Catholic church had allowed the use of artificial contraceptives, I would not be here. For that matter, if my mother had had a headache on a certain critical night, I would not be here either.

    Um, so what? None of those things would have been any sort of disaster. My presence is not exactly critical to the world. Most likely somebody else would be here in my place, maybe somebody better, maybe somebody worse. Who knows? Who cares? Neither I nor the world would suffer if I had never been born. This has got to be one of the emptiest of all empty arguments!


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