Reuniting families has driven U.S. immigration. What would ending that mean for Californians?

To Edwin Valdez, turning 21 this month meant a lot more than just meeting the legal drinking age.

It meant he could finally sponsor his undocumented immigrant Mexican parents for legal residency. The Sierra College student and North Highlands resident, a U.S.-born citizen, said he prayed as he drove to school on his birthday, asking God to “make it happen” when he petitioned for his parents’ green cards.

So Valdez was dismayed when that same day, on Aug. 2, President Donald Trump announced his support for a bill that would overhaul an immigration process that has long favored family members of legal residents and citizens. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, introduced this February by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, would halve the flow of legal immigrants into the country and prioritize more skilled visa seekers with a merit-based point system.