Comment: Grassley Makes Deal With Schumer -
In news potentially bigger in impact than Mr. Obama's momentous announcement of Deferred Action for DREAMers, Sen. Grassley, Republican of Iowa (Ranking Member of the Judiciary committee), has after many years of holding up employment immigration matters in the Senate, finally made a deal with Sen. Schumer, Democrat of New York (Chairman of the Immigration Sub-committee). The compromise mandates periodic DOL audits for H1B-dependent employers with over 100 employees, and gives DOL sweeping new powers over all employers in H1B matters. In return, the per-country limits are swept-aside, with immediate positive benefits to Indian and Chinese nationals waiting for employment immigration quotas for many years. For the original amendment by Mr. Grassley, which had many provisions affecting L visas, which have been dropped from the compromise, see here. For the compromise language on H visas see here (this document, for AILA members only, is an amendment to the amendment, so it has the proposed sweeping DOL powers, but not the per-country cap elimination language).
The political significance of this compromise is considerable: Mr. Grassley and Mr. Schumer have often led their parties on immigration matters in the Senate, especially in this, the 112th Congress. Unsurprisingly, they have always disagreed, part and parcel of the grid-lock that has stymied action on immigration for several Congresses now. And that is why this compromise is significant. We believe this compromise presages many more to come, in this Congress and the next, especially on employment-immigration matters. Bits and pieces of CIR will likely come into effect, partly through the executive branch and partly through the legislative branch. Given the compromise between these antagonists, it would be a fair guess that votes exist on the Senate floor for passage, perhaps even expeditiously by unanimous consent. However, even should the Senate adopt H.R. 3012, the underlying bill, together with the compromise amendment by voice vote, it will have to return to the House, where the votes for passage are likely good.
The moving force behind the underlying bill, is a group of those affected by the enormous backlogs - a group of primarily Indian beneficiaries, Immigration Voice (this was the group that was the prime mover behind Visagate of several summers ago, when all Employment-based categories were temporarily made "current"). In their email broadcast to the world this morning advocating for H.R. 3012, as amended by the compromise, Immigration Voice attacks the immigration bar:
Unfortunately, some immigration lawyers and their advocacy groups in DC are against this amendment. We believe that this fringe group has always advocated a system where immigrants are taken advantage of. Immigration Lawyers have chosen to be on the wrong side of history. They want to protect companies that are abusing the system. This set of Immigration lawyers want to side with companies that are under-cutting US workers and committing fraud. It's time for us to standup to speak for ourselves and tell everyone that immigration lawyers don't represent immigrants. When it comes to advocacy, immigration lawyers and their groups only represent their own special interest to design the system to keep more people in limbo for longer so that they can pocket more money through renewals and extension of applications for visas and work-permits while immigrants wait forever in their green card process. A large percentage of these immigration lawyers have a vested interest in keeping the immigration process slow and confusing. They will oppose streamlining or simplifying the process that would help employers and employees. Housing market is not about realtors; housing market is about living the American Dream and home ownership. Likewise, the purpose of immigration system is not to help immigration lawyers line their pockets with more cash. Immigration system is about America, US Employers and immigrants. It's time for us to raise our voice and say it loud, that immigration lawyers or their group doesn't represent Immigrants.
We don't know what the Immigration Voice folks have been smoking, but whatever it is, it must be rather strong. H. R. 3012, as amended, would lead to increased business for the immigration bar, since the companies that DOL would target would need the assistance of the bar in complying with DOL's new requirements under DOL's new sweeping powers, so the bar cannot reasonably be viewed as having a self-serving reason were it to oppose this bill. However, to the extent that AILA has gradually morphed from being a member association into a publishing powerhouse (2/3rd of AILA's revenues come from publishing activities, not member dues), AILA has naturally distanced itself from immigrants, evidenced by the sentiment in the statement from Immigration Voice above.
To the best of our understanding, the immigration bar is divided in its view on H.R. 3012 together with the Grassley compromise. There is a faction supporting the bill since the bill would eliminate per-country quotas, the last remaining vestige of the racism of the National Origin quotas. There is another faction opposing the bill since granting DOL sweeping powers in immigration has never proven good, historically. In contrast to this disagreement, Immigration Daily emphasizes the political significance of the Grassley-Schumer compromise, in the belief that many immigration benefits locked up for years in grid-lock will now begin to flow. Stay tuned to Immigration Daily for the latest on Capitol Hill immigration action.
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Focus: The EB-5 Book
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