Republicans in D.C. plan to bring a newly modified immigration reform bill to the House, motivated by a few key events. In September, they presented an old version of the same bill, which was overwhelmingly rejected by more than 80% of the Democrats. Shortly after, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost the election to our current president. Although he held his own in the overall popular vote, the Latino population voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Obama, perhaps signaling to the Republican party that something needs to change in terms of immigration reform if they hope to win over any Latino voters in upcoming elections.
In response, this bill, if passed, will increase the amount of visas available for graduates of institutions of higher educations in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In doing so, it plans to effectively eliminate a visa program already in place that allows a limited number of visas from less-educated countries, such as Africa. In addition, it has now been revised to allow temporary residence to those waiting for green cards if they are the spouse or minor child of an immigrant who has already procured a green card. It seems that this addition has been made in the hopes that it will make the bill more acceptable to the Democrats that will be voting on it. The aforementioned elimination of the current program is the primary reason for the Democrats’ opposition to the bill.
The bill is now poised to enter the House and, subsequently, the Senate. It is almost sure to pass in the Republican-controlled House, but its fate is much less certain in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Emotionally, it is not difficult to understand the Democrats’ argument against the previous bill that was presented. The less-educated immigrants that have taken advantage of the current program likely consider it a great opportunity to be granted entrance to the United States. Although they lack a certain level of education, their chances for social and financial mobility are undoubtedly greater here than in a country such as Africa. However, the Republicans have clearly crafted this bill to encourage highly motivated and highly educated immigrants to remain in the United States and contribute their skills to our society and economy. It is likely that this would be beneficial to our country as a whole, even if it is immoral to cut off immigration for immigrants of Africa and other such countries.
As mentioned earlier, the Democrats overwhelmingly rejected the Republican disregard for other immigrants in favor of those who have the potential to improve our economy. Although they haven’t revised their focus on economy, they have added a focus on reuniting families as well. This addition won’t adversely affect our country in any way, and will surely be met with approval by immigration advocates from both parties. Will this help the bill in the Senate, despite the firm rejection it received in September? This remains to be seen.