Employment Visa Giveaway to India and China Stopped – For Now
Preston Huennekens | FAIR Take | September 20, 2019
Senate consideration of the so-called Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act resumed today and was stopped cold, but the battle is not over. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) attempted to pass a substitute amendment to the recently passed House version, H.R. 1044, by Unanimous Consent, a procedure that requires no debate and no formal vote. If this bill becomes law, it would fundamentally alter who could earn employment-based green cards.
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act replaced the quota system with our current cap system. Today, no country’s nationals can comprise more than 7 percent of any visa category. These caps promote diversity by ensuring that individuals from smaller countries have a fair shot at earning an employment-based green card, and are not penalized simply for coming from a country that sends relatively few people to the U.S.
For example, the per-country caps ensure that a highly-skilled engineer from Kenya is able to able to come to the United States and is not relegated to the back of the line simply because there are hundreds of thousands of applicants from India, whose population dwarfs Kenya’s by about 1.3 billion people.
Unfortunately, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would completely reverse that system. If the Senate passes S. 386, nationals from India and China would dominate the employment categories, shouldering out applicants from other countries. This bill would profoundly change legal immigration to the United States for generations to come; and few, if any, individuals from countries other than India or China would be able to immigrate to the United States on an employment-based visa. Our immigration system is not designed to benefit only one or two countries. Instead of passing this bill quickly through unanimous consent, there should be a period of debate to fully examine the pros and cons of this bill. Senators should have to publicly justify why they support this bill.
Our immigration laws should not arbitrarily exclude nationals from smaller countries. Similarly, there is no reason to reward India and China with a special status just because of their huge populations and subsequent high numbers of green card applications.
Instead of hastily passing this unnecessary bill, the Senate should focus their legislative efforts on the continuing humanitarian and security crisis raging at our southern border and close the asylum loopholes exacerbating it. Instead of tinkering with employment-based green cards, they should move to codify in law President Trump’s efforts to stem the flow of economic migrants attempting to cross the border. The Senate must address these more pressing issues before caving to Facebook and Amazon lobbyists by lazily passing, without debate or formal vote, the so-called Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.
Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) blocked the most recent attempt to pass this bill by objecting to its passage by unanimous consent. However, Senator Perdue expressed his support of the bill and said he would support it in the future after meeting with Senator Lee to discuss his concerns. In his closing remarks, Senator Lee vowed to return to the Senate next week and attempt to pass S. 386 by unanimous consent again.