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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

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Dear Editor,

The decision by the Republican majority in Congress to adjourn without restoring 245(i) or moving up the registry date entirely takes the political momentum out of both issues and checkmates the attempt of the Clinton Administration to gain an electoral advantage prior to the November elections from their skillful exploitation. It reminds us again the vagaries of marrying immigration policy with political tactics. The imbalance between the number of H-1B visas and the number of Employment-based immigrant visas is greater now than ever before. Sooner or later, the pressures within the system resulting from such lack of symmetry will no longer be able to be kept in check and Congress will be pressured to act by raising the quotas themselves. This is obviously what the pro-immigration forces are counting on. In one sense, this is political realism since the Democrats would never have accepted positive action now on the EB-quota issue. Beyond that, Congress responds to emergencies backed by money and lobbying rather than setting policy in advance of a crisis. There is an institutional bias against being proactive. However, the business lobby is taking a real risk in putting off the ultimate solution for another day. The economy is cooling off, the magic of the dot.com boom is beginning to fade, and the business cycle has yet to be repealed by the digital age. Leaving to tomorrow what we did not do today leaves the whole issue completely vulnerable to forces that we do not even know about much less control. The making of immigration policy as a series of incremental emergency campaigns may be inevitable but it is high stakes poker and we may not like who gets to pick up the winnings.

Gary Endelman


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