Perdue on Wednesday appeared at a White House press conference with President Trump and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to announce proposed legislation to halve the number of immigrants receiving green cards for permanent U.S. residence. The "RAISE" plan would give Green Card priority to highly skilled professionals and those who speak English.
The high profile announcement was the latest Trump-era accomplishment for Perdue, who influenced Trump to name his cousin, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, as agriculture secretary.
Georgia senators like Richard Russell and Sam Nunn once stood tall on the national stage, but the state's senators have kept a low profile in recent years.
A former CEO known for taking over struggling companies and slashing jobs, Perdue casts himself as a business-oriented politician in the Trump mold. He shocked Georgia GOP insiders by winning the Georgia primary, and then crushed the hopeful Democratic campaign of Michelle Nunn, Sam's daughter.
Now, he's even drawing attention as a future presidential candidate. With Mitch McConnell reeling over the health-care defeat, Perdue might also be vying for the Senate leadership post.
Perdue's sponsorship of the immigration bill along with Cotton, another rising Republican star, shows he's willing to carry out national alt-right priorities even if they conflict with his state's interests. Georgia's economy depends on the labor of Latino workers, who dominate construction sites around Atlanta.
As Sonny Perdue knows, Georgia's agriculture economy also needs a steady supply of Latino workers. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham quickly dismissed the legislation, saying it would hurt South Carolina, whose economy is similar to Georgia's.
It turns out the revised immigration bill was written with the assistance of Trump's alt-right national security adviser, Stephen Miller, who at a later press briefing tussled with CNN's Jim Acosta, who accused the administration of discriminating against non-English speakers and favoring European and Australian workers.
An irate Miller called Acosta, the son of Cuban immigrants, a"cosmopolitan," a favorite code word of Hitler's Nazis. The Soviet Union's Joe Stalin was also fond of using the term to smear enemies.
Trump's support of the bill also conflicts with his interests, since he hires many low-skilled, non-English-speaking workers at his golf resorts, claiming he can't find enough American workers who want to mow the fairways, bus the tables and vacuum the carpets.
The Green Card program has another tie to the Trump clan: The Justice Department has subpoenaed documents from the Kushner family's business in connection with the financing of a New Jersey project through the EB-5 program, the Wall Street Journal reported. The program awards a green card to any foreign resident who donates $500,000 to an American development. It appears wealthy EB-5 investors would be exempt from the RAISE prohibitions.
Nicole Meyer, the sister of Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner, got into trouble a few months ago for soliciting Chinese participation in the program to boost investment in the company's projects. Meyer is a principal in the Kushner company, from which Jared Kushner has severed his ties.
Perhaps Attorney General Jeff Sessions can return to Trump's good graces by squelching the Kushner probe.
The RAISE bill lacks Senate support, but Perdue has strengthened his ties to the Trump administration and boosted his national profile, which could lead to a larger role in GOP politics.