Now that we are closing in on Democratic control of the House, I want to review the pressing legislative initiatives for immigration. There is no assurance that any of these initiatives will meet the 60 vote threshold in the Senate.
The Eagle Act (HR 3648), originally introduced in 2021, will remove the country caps for H-1B visa. The main beneficiary of the act will be Indians. (Text here.)
Farm Labor, through the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 (HR 1603), passed by the House at that time. (Go here for the text). The farm industry has long tried to legalize its unauthorized workers. (Go here for my posting in May 2022). (Go here for the text,) Here is an argument for the act.
The Dream Act of 2021,( S. 264), which is the latest iteration of legislative efforts since Obama’s executive order of June 2012 which created legal protection for children brought illegally into the country but has antecedents going back to 2001. (Here is a recent argument for passage now.)
The Eagle Act
The Eagle Act would do more: address a backlog in conversation of H1-B visas to Green cards, but will do that not by increasing the total number of Green Cards but claiming a share of them; and removing the aging out risk for children here due to dependency on parent visas, who reach 21 years of age. (Here and here.)
The text of the Eagle Act has as of today the original 2011 language unchanged: HR 3648, Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act of 2022.
The White House endorsed the Eagle Act on December 6.
I cite two. On is an opinion article on The Hill on November 11 chastises the Democrats for failing to fashion a bill which would be more palatable to Republicans. The author harks back to the most recent comprehensive reform bill, in 1986, which failed in stemming illegal migration, though the initiatives do not address general amnesty.
Second, the American Hospital Association criticizes the bill because it is almost exclusively focused on temporary tech workers and does nothing about the nursing shortage. The AHA writes: “Most foreign-trained nurses are not qualified to come into the U.S. on an H-1B visa. They instead must apply for legal permanent resident status, or a green card, to be granted employment-based immigration for themselves and their family members. We continue to support the green card process as the most effective way to offer permanent employment for nurses.”