U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, is taking a hard stance against the RAISE Act, the newly proposed legislation that seeks to curb legal immigration.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia authored the bill.

“I just think that (U.S. President Donald) Trump’s support for the RAISE Act is abominable,” Vela said. “If it were up to Donald Trump, the only people that would come into this country are the people who have wealth.”

The legislation calls for a point-based system, where education level, the ability to speak English, high-paying job offers, age, record of achievement and entrepreneurial initiative are taken into account.

It would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year and eliminate the diversity visa lottery.

The bill might make it more difficult for families to stay together. Minor children and spouses still would be able to immigrate, but adult children and siblings no longer would be given preferential status.

Cotton and Perdue say the bill is introducing a system not unlike that of Canada and Australia.

Under this legislation, legal immigration would decrease to 637,960 after one year and 539,958 after 10 years, the senators said.

Vela said the legislation completely ignores the fact that industries around the country require working immigrants. Vela cited the shrimping industry, the service industry and the agriculture industry as examples.

In the resort areas of Massachusetts and Cape Cod, many businesses were having “extremely difficult times” because the Trump administration would not increase the amount of H2B visas, Vela said.

Vela is unsure if there would be any room for common ground with the Republican Party on this legislation. He would need to take a closer look at the proposed legislation.

“There may be bits and pieces, but I just doubt it. I feel so strongly that President Trump, whether it be on health care or immigration or wasting money on walls, is taking the country in a bad direction,” Vela said. “I have very little faith in anything he supports.”

Vela recalled when there was a bi-partisan effort to address immigration reform three years ago under then-President Barack Obama. Though it passed the U.S. Senate, it did not make it through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Even with Trump’s backing of the RAISE Act, some Republicans are showing opposition to the bill, Vela said.

“My honest assessment is that as long as Donald Trump is president, our chances of immigration reform are at about zero. We had eight years of Obama and didn’t get it right. I think we’re in for a very long three years and a half.”

fgarza@brownsvilleherald.com