US Government debates over the new immigration bill


The Senate has passed the immigration bill, but the prospects of the reform in the House of Representatives where the Republicans have majority is doubtful. This is very surprising, given the fact that in the last years, Republicans have always been the driving force of the immigration reform. Conservatives in the House, however, should accept victory and pass the bill which introduces a new focus in the immigration policy of US – a focus on the economics of immigration.

This is something even President Reagan was not able to accomplish. Now such changes are necessary because the United States is losing the global battle for talent for the first time since the country is founded.

The last major reforms of immigration were signed by Reagan in 1986 and George H.W. Bush in 1990. The Reagan reforms let more than 2.5 million illegal or temporary agricultural workers become lawful residents.

During the last year, Democrats reject immigration bill that would have reformed immigration rules for skilled workers. They would only agree to accept it as a part of broader immigration reform. Even Rep. Zoe Lofgren who is known as a supporter of the Silicon Valley opposed the bill. This has led a lot of Silicon Valley business leader, including Steve jobs to accuse Obama of failure in his immigration policy.

Media coverage of the Senate bill focused on how far the law goes to block illegal immigration and how to treat the estimated 12 million illegal aliens already here.

Little was said about the long-overdue border opening for skilled workers. The Senate will introduce merit-based visa for up to 250 000 people. Applicants earn points on the basis of factors such as education, work experience, previous salary etc.

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