CWS Condemns Introduction of the Anti-Family, Anti-Refugee, Anti-Immigrant ‘Raise Act’

August 3, 2017


CWS Condemns Introduction of the Anti-Family, Anti-Refugee, Anti-Immigrant ‘Raise Act’

After Senators Cotton (R-AK) and Perdue (R-GA) introduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act with support from President Trump, Erol Kekic — Executive Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program — issued the following statement:

“We denounce this anti-immigrant bill. Instead of championing reforms that would move us forward, the Trump administration and some in Congress seem more interested in attempting to pit communities against each other. Economists have made clear that such policies would do nothing to help American workers. What it would do is dismantle our refugee resettlement program, separate families, and commodify the worth of individuals by essentially only permitting those who have certain education levels, employment, and English-language ability to enter the United States.

“The entire premise of this bill is built on falsities. For example, the sponsors claim that in capping refugee admissions at 50,000 per year, they are in line with some arbitrary “13 year average.” In actuality, this would be the lowest resettlement goal in U.S. history, and far below the historic average of 95,000, during the largest global refugee crisis the world has ever seen.

“The RAISE Act would eliminate the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers and sisters, and make it nearly impossible for them to sponsor their parents. Already, family-based visas are restricted to spouses, children, parents and siblings, and backlogs can be as long as 23 years. When it is impossible to access the legal immigration system in a timely way, people resort to entering the United States however they can, including crossing borders illegally and overstaying visas. The real way to fix our immigration system is to modernize visas to meet the needs of families, workers, and employers.

“Assuming that an individual’s future is bound by their past flies in the face of the American identity of opportunity, perseverance, self invention, and upward mobility. From diverse business leaders to Nobel Prize-winning economists, Americans spanning sectors and state lines know that immigrants not only contribute to our economy, but also fuel its growth. It is high time for our nation’s leaders to acknowledge and espouse these basic truths–not stoke unfounded fear to score cheap political points.”

See CWS’s full policy statement in opposition to the RAISE Act at

CWS experts who have worked on these policy issues for years are available to speak to media.
Please contact to arrange the interviews.

  • EROL KEKIC | Executive Director, CWS Immigration and Refugee Program
  • JEN SMYERS | Director of Policy and Advocacy, CWS Immigration and Refugee Program

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at