President Donald Trump is backing Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton as well as Georgia Senator David Perdue in a proposed immigration overhaul.
It’s called the RAISE Act and focuses on immigrant skills to determine whether or not they can come to the U.S.
Local immigration groups said putting a focus on skills and not families isn’t a good representation of American values, especially not Northwest Arkansan values.
They said it’s something they cannot and will not support.
Today President Donald Trump said, “It’s great to be here today to unveil legislation that would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
The President’s remarks about proposed immigration legislation aren’t settling easy for those in Northwest Arkansas.
Mireya Reith is the Founding Executive Director of Arkansas United Community Coalition. She said, “Not only is this bill completely out of line with our economic needs in Arkansas, but also shows that Arkansas has no idea who the immigrants are in this state.”
The proposal wants to reduce the number of unskilled immigrants, something Reith said is the last thing we need, especially in the Natural State.
“Just a couple weeks ago President Trump had to authorize 15-thousand visas for low skill workers to help across the country,” said Reith.
Immigrants aren’t the only ones affected by this legislation. Reith said, “This program tries to slash at refugees.”
Canopy NWA works to bring refugees to safety in The Natural State. They said this legislation is extremely concerning to them.
Lauren Snodgrass is the Canopy Community Outreach Coordinator. She said, “We work in our community, we are supported by our community, and overwhelmingly our community is not for this.”
Snodgrass said she’s seen an outpouring of support for refugees in Arkansas after a local church in Siloam Springs sent the group more than 100 handmade cards for refugees. “It was cards welcoming refugees, and telling them that they are praying for them and that they’re glad they’re here, that they make our town and our region a better place.”
The groups biggest concern with the legislation is a 50-thousand cap on refugees.
“We’re a nation that was built on refugees and immigrants and I don’t believe that this reflects, Canopy doesn’t believe that this reflects our values as as nation,” said Snoddgrass.
Arkansas United Coalition said they will reach out to Senator Cotton to let him know they do not approve of this legislation and encourage all Arkansans to do the same.