In the backdrop of the considerable amount of bipartisan support, The sponsor of this bill facing the lofty goal of getting everyone on board. With the limited window of remaining the 116th congress and an election year in front of them, building coalition is proving to be elusive.
But, history tells us that the FIGHT will continue.
A bitterly divided immigrant community battling over this proposed senate bill — S.386/H.R.1044: Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrant Act — affecting a set of rules governing legal immigration today, namely green card availability and provision called the country cap limit a.k.a quota regime.
As per current legal immigration law, any given country is not eligible to receive more than seven percentage of allocated visas per year. And this number is further divided and assigned based on preference sub-classification.
This arbitrary numerical limitation is adversely impacting the countries with many visas demand and more significant size of the population in general.
While making their respective cases for and against this bill merits, engaged in a hostile takedown of one community vs. others. Engage in argument from minimizing one another perceived contributions as an immigrant to trade each other accusations of exploiting the immigration system.
And, inevitably, politicians falling on either side of the debate has become an ideal target; sometimes, these digital citizens have taken issue with politicians opposing this bill and asserting racial connotations to their objections.
Maybe there is no evidence to support their racist argument against them. However, in the historical context, the case can be easily made. If you look back in the history of legislation surrounding legal immigration, this country legislators, both present and in the distant past, have helped to put the systems and institutions in place that support exclusionary and explicit preference immigration favoring white nations.
To realize their belief that this country is preordained to be the white nation. And to support the notion that land only belongs to early settlers from western European roots, whom they identify as Caucasians in the modern days. America's legal immigration laws and policies always seemingly reflect those sentiments in some ways — from the period of colonization, through slavery and democracy, and to this day as a leading nation of the civilized world.
History is complex —
Interestingly though, throughout American history, hatred towards immigrants and perceived menace towards outsiders is not constant and targeting any single group. And it is always evolving to match the needs of social and economic demographics challenges of any given time.
Start with what is known as class-based racism during the early colonist period. This period has seen the discrimination against indentured whites, yes - you heard it right, and involuntary slaves. And the fact that people of color have slaved and status protected by law pretty much negated the need for an alternative to this class-based system.
And then the birth of democracy came along — an idea predicated on the revolutionary principle of "All men are created equal" — and appear to challenge the system of institutionalized slavery and the economy it supports. And it eventually paved the way for present-day color-based racism.
As history implies, this racist idea is a social and behavioral issue of the time and pretty much influences what considered as Others. As we know, historically, during the various period and variety of reasons, different communities subjected to racial injustice from Irish Catholics in the 19th century, then later Chinese and other Asians, of course, Italians and Jews and other southern and eastern Europeans and Mexicans.
Such understanding gives some hope that something will come along in the future that nudges everyone for change in mindset and challenge their tolerance to an inclusive society. Hope to see one day this country turning into an inclusive community and culture and lives up to the ideals of the country's founding principle.
In the meantime, immigrants and supporters with power to influence have to fight against injustices. One such effort is in work to rewrite current broken legal immigration and rectify shortcomings is H.R.1044/S.386.
One irony in this H.R.1044/S.356 fight is that section of immigrant community yearning for this segregationist measures stay put for their short term benefits. Even though such a quota system weaponized historically and primarily used to oppress the immigrant community in the USA, I would like them to see things in a broader context and come around to support this bill.
History of Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act —
This fight is going on from 2011, S.1983 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011 to current S.386 in 2019. The text in these bills tells the story of how far this issue has evolved — and continuously affecting adversely a section of immigration communities since 2008.
All these versions attempt to solve this "NUMERICAL LIMITATION TO ANY SINGLE FOREIGN STATE." on a different level, with the combination of Transition Rules For Employment-Based Immigrants. Uniformly, all these bills propose to eliminate the country limit and provide a transition period with a set number of reserved visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients. On the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.
H.R.3012 - GOP majority house of congress has passed this bill with bipartisan support, without any poison class added, and narrowly focused on solving this numerical limit backlog crisis. This bill sponsor is Rep. Chaffetz, Jason [R-UT-3], and amassed 389 votes against 15 opposing.
Again, in 2013 — during the 113th congress, Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT] (S.293) and Rep. Chaffetz, Jason (H.R.633), both UTAH elected lawmakers, has introduced the respective bill and not even had the change to vote in either chamber.
Ref.Chaffetz, Jason (H.R.213, H.R.392) took another jab at this bill during the 114th and 115th congress and no avail, before retiring from public life and become a Fox News contributor.
Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT], in his part, has tried during the 115th congress with this bill - S.281 and not succeed either.
No End and Light at the end of the tunnel —
In its latest incarnation, the house bill, H.R.1044, is cleared with bipartisan support vote-counting as 365 -65.
And in the Senate version, S.386 has seen multiple dramas unfolding in the last one year. Sponsor Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT] has trying to make an accommodation with his colleges, whomsoever having reservations with the text in the bill from both parties, and making compromises to secure their vote for unanimous consent - UC.
While this compromise includes carving out reserved visas for health care services professional — to satisfy Sen. Rand Paul, and increased available reserved visas for the rest of the country during the transition period — to satisfy concern from democratic senator Dick Durbin.
But, this one added class in the latest version of the bill, taking aim at the temporary visa misuse and rein in its unscrupulous beneficiaries, proves to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
With this poison class, the battle has shifted from within the immigrant community into a potential conflict with corporate. Going forward, any upcoming action over this bill assumes a different dynamics and expect to add an unexpected twist to this ongoing saga.
Final comment —
Still, in the backdrop of the considerable amount of bipartisan support — the sponsors of this bill are facing the lofty goal of getting everyone on board. With an additional challenge of the limited window in the 116th congress and an election year compounding that problem, a compromise among partisan senators is proving to be elusive.
Only time will tell on the fate of this bill. Hold tight, will update this column for any future development.