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Policies that Make Sense

Have you ever wondered why it seems Congress is in a constant state of gridlock? That is because it is quite difficult to get the 60 votes necessary to quash a filibuster so as to actually get something done in the U.S. Senate. But from time to time, miracles do occur. In November, both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives came together to pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which would restore balance and fairness to the distribution of employment and family-based immigrant visas. However, this bill that would provide a small yet significant improvement to the arbitrary distribution of visas and make it more consistent with basic supply and demand principles, was put on hold. It was blocked by Sen. Grassley who cited concerns about “future immigration flows” and “that it does nothing to better protect Americans at home who seek high-skilled jobs during this time of record high unemployment.” But his reasons are excuses rather than valid arguments forged on concern. The Senator disregarded the fact that Americans at home face the same amount of competition for jobs now that they would if the bill became law. Furthermore, the legislation does not increase the total number of visas, instead it simply seeks to fairly redistribute the existing quantity.

Have you ever wondered why it seems Congress is in a constant state of gridlock? That is because it is quite difficult to get the 60 votes necessary to quash a filibuster so as to actually get something done in the U.S. Senate. But from time to time, miracles do occur. In November, both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives came together to pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which would restore balance and fairness to the distribution of employment and family-based immigrant visas. However, this bill that would provide a small yet significant improvement to the arbitrary distribution of visas and make it more consistent with basic supply and demand principles, was put on hold. It was blocked by Sen. Grassley who cited concerns about “future immigration flows” and “that it does nothing to better protect Americans at home who seek high-skilled jobs during this time of record high unemployment.” But his reasons are excuses rather than valid arguments forged on concern. The Senator disregarded the fact that Americans at home face the same amount of competition for jobs now that they would if the bill became law. Furthermore, the legislation does not increase the total number of visas, instead it simply seeks to fairly redistribute the existing quantity.

Having proved that they can join forces and come to an agreement, Republicans and Democrats should once again come together to support this measure since it would lay the groundwork for broader immigration reform. Apart from the aforementioned initiative, legislators could add to the total number of visas by simplifying and shortening the green-card application process for international students who earn advanced degrees from American universities. But we must also look beyond advanced degrees and recognize that skilled immigrants create jobs in all sectors of the American economy. Allowing workers of all skill levels to legally come to this country to meet our economic needs, along with increasing investment in education and training for U.S. workers, will make the American workforce more competitive. By limiting or excluding immigrants, we will stunt our ability to grow, thus, only hurting ourselves in the process. We must continue to push for more meaningful policy changes that match our economic reality with our need for a skilled workforce.

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