The immigration acts of the United States have for a long time established country limits as a means of ensuring that there is diversity in the arriving immigrant populations, and that no single country of the world gets to dominate immigration to the USA. Country-limits, coupled with rising number of people applying for immigration, have therefore naturally resulted in long lines, and huge backlogs for people wanting to migrate to the USA.
One such group of people are those who are already working legally in the USA in high-tech fields, and who have been sponsored by their employers for LPR status (greencards.) During the last few years, a large number of those have come from India. (And, also from China.) Others in this category have come from the rest of the world. Naturally, all are subject to per-country limits.
Congress has established an annual cap of 144,000 greencards annually for employment-based immigration. According to current law, immigrants form any one country are to be limited to 7% of the total number of greencards. And for one very important reason. Removing country-limits would allow a single country to come to dominate the migration to the US. It would effectively be an establishment of a quota system for the dominating country.
Moreover, congress allows US citizens and LPRs to sponsor their relatives for greencards as well, subject to annual numerical limits and country-limits.
The result has been, that both in the employment-sponsored categories, as well as family-sponsored categories, there are long lines. This is particularly true for people who were sponsored by their employers for greencards and who were born in India. Regardless, born within India or without, and sponsored by an employer or a relative, all wait in line patiently for their turn to get a greencard. Again, this ensures that no one country gets to dominate immigration to the USA.
Not so anymore. HR3012 is being rushed through the United States congress to remove country limits from employment-based immigration. This will have the following effects:
1) In 2012 and 2013, about as many people from India in the employment-based categories would be given greencards, as are given in almost an entire decade. At the same time, very few employment based greencards would be given to immigrants from the rest of the world. The rest of the world would be subject to a ‘quota’, ironically.
2) In 2015 and beyond, when giving employment-based greencards to immigrants from the rest of the world finally resumes, immigration in the employment based category would be dominated by people who were born in India and China. The rest of the world, particularly advanced countries, would be squeezed out and choked off. The wait-times for people aspiring to be US permanent residents would be beyond daunting. Find me an engineer from Australia or Ireland or Israel, who is willing to wait more than a decade just to be able to file for his greencard based upon employment, and I will find you a thousand from India who would be willing to wait for more than two.
3) And if this is 'fair’ and 'just’, then what is stopping congress from enacting the same policy on family-based immigration? If this is 'fair’ and 'just’ then we request, nay demand, that congress enact similar legislation that would do away with country-limits for family based immigration, and create a true and genuine free-for all. Lets open the flood-gates wide and ensure that the migration to the United States, in effect, happens only from India (and perhaps China and Philippines too.) Lets do away with decades-old immigration policies and principles, and shut the doors to all countries save a few. It is only natural that congress should adopt the same 'fair’ policy for family-based immigration.
The group ImmigrationVoice has been working very hard for months to lobby congress to change the decades old immigration policy and to abolish country limits. The group started out a few years ago as an organization that gave a voice to the problems faced by legal foreign workers in the USA, but has lately in effect morphed into one that has put getting green cards for Indians (and Chinese too, to some extent) at the expense of immigrants from the other parts of the world as it’s sole objective. They are running a concerted campaign meeting lawmakers, working with Washington lobbyists, and sending out a very controlled and scripted message to the media.
Over the last six months, the group has engaged in extensive lobbying efforts to push it’s unlimited-immigration agenda in Washington. It is a foregone conclusion that, thanks to relentless lobbying by ImmigrationVoice, in the coming months congress will silently pass the most sweeping change to the immigration laws of the United States in a very long time. This makes for a very interesting case study of the power of the lobbyists in Washington. Never before has an immigrant group such effectively brought about a change to the laws of any country to open the floodgates for itself. What is particularly remarkable is the concerted lobbying efforts of the group in Washington, and their scripted messages to the local media all over the United States. A better name for the group would be InvasionVoice.
In-arguably, the employment based green card applicants from India face wait times that are unreasonable. But the solution to that problem lies within the frameworks of a comprehensive approach to solving the immigration issue. And, until the time comes when congress overcomes its gridlock over immigration, a temporary solution must be found by diverting the visa numbers from family based categories (for India, and China) to the employment based one. Robbing Peter to pay Paul may be called many things. It cannot be called fair.
But the story will not end with the change in the laws. As the primary season for the next election cycle approaches, lawmakers who vote for the change will probably find that they are defending themselves against charges of being a sellout to India and China. After all, we all remember the time in 2007 when the campaign office of then-senator Barack Obama accused then-senator Hillary Clinton of being the senator of Punjab. ( D-Punjab). President Barack Obama quickly apologized for that, as he was running for president. A Republican (or even Democrat) challenger, in a primary for a seat in the House or Senate, will not need to hold back any punches.There is a reason why lawmakers have tried to deal with immigration reform as a whole, so that everybody can claim victory when the legislation passes. By passing a law under the intense efforts of a certain lobby, the lawmakers are only setting themselves up for tough questions on the campaign trails.