EAGLE Act Pulled From House Floor
FAIR Take | December 2022
House Democrats pulled the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act (EAGLE Act) from the floor this week due to a widespread lack of support, with the bill broadly seen as a giveaway to corporate lobbyists and their donors.
As the country faces soaring inflation, a faltering economy, and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the Biden administration’s own making, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are rejecting this attack on American workers.
Misleadingly dubbed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act last Congress, the EAGLE Act would get rid of per-country caps for employment green cards. In doing so, it would undermine country of origin diversity for green cards, reinforce foreign workers’ place in the American labor economy, and encourage big corporations to continue displacing Americans with “temporary” foreign workers.
Rather than supporting merit-based immigration and preserving American workers’ wage growth, the EAGLE Act maintains the current broken system and would allow India and China to almost entirely take over green card applications through the H-1B program, as Indian and Chinese nationals make up the huge majority of H-1B recipients and the dual intent H-1B visa also allows holders to apply for lawful permanent residence.
Unlike last Congress, however, when the bill garnered 365 “yea” votes in the House of Representatives, today it cannot get off the ground.
On Tuesday this week, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Taskforce, came out against the bill, writing that it runs contrary to the goal of establishing a fair and just immigration system.
Likewise, the reliably left-leaning American Immigration Lawyers Association said Wednesday that it cannot support the bill, as it “does not strike the right balance of eliminating per-country limitations without adversely impacting others.”
And the American Hospital Association, no stranger itself to supporting foreign workers, has even said that the bill “would negatively impact nurse immigration, and thereby adversely affect the ability of America’s hospitals and health systems to provide care in communities across the country.”
Indeed, the only ones who seem to be supporting the EAGLE Act are open borders activists and Big Tech companies like Microsoft and Intel, conveniently forgetting to mention that the H-1B program is dominated by foreign tech workers who displace Americans and drive wages down.
Meanwhile, the bill’s proponents – led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) – are ignoring its troubled history and claiming that throwaway H-1B reform provisions stuck in last minute would protect American workers.
The simple truth, though, is that eliminating per-country caps would fast-track permanent residency for tech workers from India and China, pushing other countries’ green card applicants further down the list and forcing Americans out of the industry. The flawed H-1B program must be thoroughly changed or even scrapped to ensure that corporations like Intel and Microsoft do not continue filling American jobs with cheap foreign labor.
As FAIR concluded last week, the EAGLE Act is intrinsically flawed and would harm both American workers and foreign workers outside India and China, while simultaneously propping up big business’ deepening addiction to foreign labor. What we need is meaningful reform of the legal immigration system, not more concessions to lobbyists at the expense of the American worker.