On Wednesday, Donald Trump appeared alongside Republican Sens. David Perdue and Tom Cotton to announce his support for their legislation limiting legal immigration. Perdue and Cotton have been working with top White House aides on a bill called the RAISE Act, which aims to limit the number of ways in which legal immigrants may enter the United States. Trump promoted the RAISE Act's limitations on legal immigration as a way to protect American workers, but CNN reported that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are likely to push back on the bill.
Congressional officials are not the only ones who are generally opposed to the RAISE Act's key provisions. Twitter users responded to Trump's announcement almost immediately, slamming his endorsement of a "merit-based" immigration system that would make it harder to obtain a Green Card while simultaneously doing nothing to help undocumented immigrants.
Indeed, Trump said the bill would implement a "competitive application process" which would "favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy." Trump added that his support of the RAISE Act reflected his administration's "compassion for struggling American families that deserve an immigrant system that puts their needs first."
However, the president's claims that this bill's primary aim is to protect American workers and taxpayers — when Perdue and Cotton have made it clear that the bill would cut legal immigration rates in half — were widely disputed on social media. Here are some of the tweets criticizing Trump for throwing his support behind the bill.
A Decline In Moral Leadership
Criticizing The Trump Administration's Priorities
In 24 hours, the Trump administration has moved to "slash legal immigration" while ending "discrimination against white" students pic.twitter.com/HkpOqp2EH2— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) August 2, 2017
As Friedman's tweet indicates, the Trump administration is gearing up to potentially take action against universities that apply affirmative action in their admissions procedures, based on claims that the policy discriminates against white and Asian American students. The administration's decision to attack affirmative action while also trying to create an allegedly "merit-based" immigration system has resulted in significant criticism of Trump's priorities.
Trump's plan is no solution to our immigration problems. First find a solution to the 11M already here. Then deal with those coming after.— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) August 2, 2017
The new immigration plan, supported by Trump, has no solution for the 11 M undocumented already living here. What r u going to do with them?— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) August 2, 2017
Ramos, who has frequently been outspoken in his criticism of Trump, made an important point. Perdue and Cotton have claimed that the RAISE Act will reform the immigration system, but the bill does not address the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the U.S.
Noting Trump's Hypocrisy
Here was POTUS roughly two months ago saying he didn't want to curb legal immigration pic.twitter.com/OLgaXR6UUY— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 2, 2017
Trump has maintained that he does not want to reduce the total number of immigrants entering the country, but Perdue and Cotton's bill would do exactly that.
A Factual Takedown
As this tweet points out, Trump's support for the RAISE Act contradicts his administration's economic goals. In fact, 89 percent of the economists surveyed by the Washington Post last month argued that Trump should not curb legal immigration, because such an action would actually reduce rates of economic growth.
Opposition In Washington
Strong Chamber of Commerce statement on new Trump-backed bill to cut legal immigration: pic.twitter.com/wzy0YaD0ZK— Ben Siegel (@benyc) August 2, 2017
According to this tweet, even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposed to a reduction in immigration rates.
I've always supported merit-based immigration. I think we should always want to attract the best and brightest to the United States. (1)— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
Unfortunately other part of proposal reduces legal immigration by half inclding many immigrants who work legally in Ag, tourism, & service.2— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
SC #1 industry is Ag. Tourism #2.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
If proposal were to become law... devastating to SC economy which relies on this immigrant workforce. 3
The RAISE Act is expected to face significant resistance from senators like South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who believes that curbing legal immigration in the way this bill proposes would damage his state's economy. Graham is a proponent of bipartisan immigration reform.
Due to opposition across the political spectrum, Perdue and Cotton have a significant amount of work ahead of them if they hope to convince Congress to pass the bill. However, CNN reported that Trump's support could make a difference — even though both Republicans and Democrats have already voiced their disapproval.