White House favors white-collar replacement bill

The White House is in favor of a package that would spend about $29 million excluding more Americans from white-collar employment and reducing funding in states in the middle of the country that create jobs, according to a report by Breitbart News.

“The Administration supports House passage of GH.R.36438, the Equal Acess to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act, and its goal of allowing U.S. employers to focus on hiring immigrants on merit,” said a December 6 statement from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated on December 5 that the bill will likely cost $29 million over the following five years (CBO). The law is promoted as a justifiable aid for immigrant Indians who have been engaged for U.S. jobs by Fortune 500 businesses and their networks of Indian subcontractors.

However, the CBO study pointed out that the impact goes far beyond helping Indians because it would permit foreign workers hired by American businesses to obtain renewable work licenses, regardless of the backlog for green cards:

The bill would allow beneficiaries of employment-based petitions for immigrant visas who are living in the United States to apply to adjust status to lawful permanent resident even if an immigrant visa is not immediately available.

The swing voters who graduated from college and primarily supported the Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections are the largest losers from the Democrats’ bill.

However, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus’ immigration task committee, has also expressed her unusual opposition to the bill. She said,  “I cannot support efforts that would perpetuate the current inequities in our immigration system.” She stated that the law would unjustly tilt the immigration system in favor of a subset of immigrants.

In her letter addressed to her fellow caucus members the Congressional Black Caucus chair outlined her issues:

“With H.R. 3648, the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act set to advance to the floor this week, I would like to share my concerns with this bill.”

“We are all aware of the unique immigration challenges Black migrants have long confronted. In addition to the vastly disparate rates of detention and deportation faced by Black migrants, the challenges and obstacles that persist while Title 42 remains in effect cannot be ignored. We need comprehensive immigration reform that addresses these issues.”

“While the EAGLE Act seeks to bolster and retain high-skilled workers to our nations, it does not appropriately account for the potential adverse impacts of eliminating per-country caps on employment-based visas. Per-country caps were established to ensure a fair and just immigration system – that no country or group should be able to dominate our immigration system. With respect to employment-based immigrant visas, India and China hold the highest number of applications by a significant margin.”

“If we are to eliminate per-country caps without a corresponding increase in the total number of visas, the outcome is certain to result in a dearth of immigration opportunities for hopeful migrants outside these nations, with particular concern for those from African and Caribbean nations.”

“Additionally, while this bill provides a 9-year transition period to ensure that no country’s applicants are totally excluded from receiving visas as the per-country caps are phased out, by Fiscal Year 9 only 5 percent of visas would be reserved for “lower admission” states. Following this transition period, there will be no safeguards against any immigrant group from dominating the visa pool. Without significant increases in the total number of visas issued, I support increasing, rather than fully eliminating, per-country caps to ensure Black migrants are provided their fair chance within our immigration system.”

“While I appreciate the time and effort that went into this bill and am a fervent believer in the critical importance of reforming our immigration system, I cannot support this legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform has been elusive for Congress despite many bipartisan efforts in the last two decades. And though I know the dire need for change, it must be towards a more equitable system. This legislation comes up short in my estimation – and I cannot support efforts that would perpetuate the current inequities in our immigration system. I believe we can do better.”