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Bill Funding Trump's Border Wall Includes Common-Sense Immigration Reforms

July 30, 2018 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

Budget appropriators in the House of Representatives
approved
a Department of Homeland Security funding bill
Thursday. In addition to $5 billion for the president’s

border wall
, the Appropriations Committee advanced the bill
with several amendments, including three authored by Republicans,
that would improve the legal immigration system. The bill would
streamline immigration for families of U.S. citizens and for
higher- and lower-skilled foreign workers, while protecting
immigrant Dreamers and asylum seekers at the border.

In a major win for legal immigration, Rep. Dan Newhouse,
R-Wash., inserted a provision expanding the H-2A guest worker
program. Current law limits the H-2A program only to jobs that are
“seasonal” in nature. This blocks employers in
year-round industries such as dairy, livestock, and poultry from
accessing legal workers. It’s a pointless restriction that
incentivizes illegal employment and undermines the purpose of the
program, so Newhouse is rightly seeking to undo it.

Similarly, the committee also
approved
an amendment by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., that would
increase the number of H-2B guest workers for nonagricultural jobs.
The H-2B program is critical for seafood, landscaping, and
construction industries that cannot access the H-2A program, which
has no cap at all. In recent years, employers have repeatedly been
shut out of the program due to high demand.

This amendment would restore the “returning worker
exemption” under which a worker who entered in the prior two
years would not be counted against the limit again. In addition, it
would also allow the government to distribute the visas more fairly
across companies rather than shutting out some businesses from the
program entirely. Both reforms would improve the system
dramatically, and increasing the numbers of lesser-skilled guest
workers
is proven
to reduce illegal immigration.

This micromanaging of
America’s demographics results in senseless outcomes.

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., managed to convince the committee to
include his legislation, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants
Act (H.R.
392
), into the funding bill. This amendment would start to end
the discriminatory practice, started in the 1920s, of limiting
immigration based on nationality. These “per-country”
limits prevent any nationality from using more than 7 percent of
the green cards for permanent residents. This irrationally provides
the same number of green cards to 334,000 Icelanders as to 1.4
billion Chinese.

This micromanaging of America’s demographics results in
senseless outcomes. Immigrants from India sponsored by employers
who are applying right now will face
such a long wait
that they will likely die before receiving
permanent residence. Other applicants face no wait at all.
Family-sponsored immigrants from several countries face even longer
wait times. H.R. 392 would end the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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