A bi-partisan bill eliminating per-country caps on employment-based green cards was recently shot down in the Senate.
The goal was to get more highly skilled immigrants to come to America and level the playing field as to who could gain access to green cards. Right now, citizens of any one country can only get 7% of all employment and family-based green cards annually.
Chinese and Indian applicants remain on back burner
The piece of legislation targeted immigrants from countries who have usually been last in line during the selection process. According to the state department, employment-based applicants from countries like China and India just became eligible for green cards in September and had been waiting for over a decade. If the bill had gone through, it could have given people from those countries a better chance at contributing to the American economy. However, doing so would have increased wait times for green card applicants in countries like Canada and Argentina.
The bill poses worries for some lawmakers
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was one of two senators who opposed the original bill, citing concerns that it would increase wait times for nurses looking to work in the United States. Paul said for him to approve it, he wants to see a provision that lets 5000 foreign nurses into the U.S. annually for the next decade.
Demand for skilled immigrants high in Silicon Valley
The bill could have helped California by expanding the state’s already booming tech sector. Across Silicon Valley, many companies rely heavily on highly skilled and specialized foreign labor, primarily in engineering. A recent report from the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project found that over half of San Francisco’s tech workforce came from outside the United States.
Congress still in tight gridlock over immigration
America continues to rely on immigrants to further develop its already dynamic economy. Unfortunately, the bill tackles only a small sliver of legal immigration policy and continues to show the public that even with some bi-partisan support, congress is still unable to reach an agreement on this type of reform.