“Why Can’t We All Get Along?” Gang of Eight Amnesty Disagreements Multiply

Published on March 15th, 2013

In my last blog I wrote that a rift between the high tech industry and the White House could help derail amnesty legislation. Fearing that a so called comprehensive bill may fail, Silicon Valley is desperate to have its demands for higher H-1B visa caps be treated separately from amnesty for 11 million aliens. The White House says no deal; sink or swim with us. Read my blog here.

Now there’s new evidence that the Gang of Eight’s plan is struggling to reach an accord. According to a Washington Post report, Senator Lindsey Graham has offered his plan to drastically cut chain migration. Pursuant to policies that have been in place since the 1965 Immigration Act, Graham proposes to reduce family reunification by eliminating married adult children and siblings from the chain while spouses, minor children and unmarried adult would remain eligible. Listen to an NPR report titled “1965 Immigration Law Changed America” that features CAPS Board Director Otis Graham here.

At first blush, chain migration cuts seem a good thing. But the GOP wants to replace married adult children and siblings, estimated at 90,000 visas annually, with an equal number of high skilled visas. The net effect wouldn’t change the annual number of new arrivals. Total population statistics would not be reduced. Graham, under siege in South Carolina for his amnesty proposals while his state suffers with a 15.6 U-6 unemployment rate, called his proposal an “economic-based immigration system.”

Predictably, Graham’s recommendation to lower the existing family visa system, which has a 4.3 million waiting list, set off howls from advocacy groups. The House Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Asian American Justice Center and the Roman Catholic Church were among those who protested that Congress should not have the right to define what members should be included in the definition of a family. And another of the Gang of Eight Graham’s Gang of Eight colleague, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) disagrees with any family visa restrictions.  Hundreds of illegal aliens descended on Capitol Hill to demonstrate their displeasure at any modification of family visas.

For those who oppose amnesty, the bottom line is that the more discord among the debate’s movers and shakers, the better. Amnesty supporters, particularly the Democratic far left and the Beltway Hispanic lobby, doesn’t want to give up anything they’ve already secured especially if it’s something they value as highly as family visas. The more roadblocks to a consensus, the less chance amnesty has to pass. [Senate Group Considers Large Cuts in Family Visas as Part of Immigration Deal, by David Nakamura, Washington Post, March 14, 2013]


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