Bill to remove green card country caps gets rid of “racist” immigration rules, says Utah Republican.
Calling S.386 or the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, seeking to remove country caps on green cards, “a good bill,” Republican Senator Mike Lee has advocated its early passage.
The Utah lawmaker spoke about the bill and the issue of green card backlog at two town halls on Wednesday at Farmington and Draper cities in his home state.
With about 300,000 Indians currently waiting for a green card, the community members were eager to hear more about the future of the bill’s passage going forward.
However, some anti-immigration groups are also resentful about the bill which they feel gives an unfair advantage to Indians and negatively impacts American diversity.
Senator Lee patiently explained why he thought S.386 was a good bill and why people should not go by misinformation and rumors surrounding it online and otherwise.
To bring home how current US immigration laws impact individuals differently based on the country of their birth, he cited an example of immigrants from Germany and India.
“Imagine that immigrant A and immigrant B have identical resumes, identical family circumstances, identical incomes, identical background checks,” Lee said.
“The only difference between immigrant A and immigrant B is that immigrant A is from a smaller less populated country let’s say Germany and immigrant B is from a large and heavily populated country let’s say India.
“Immigrant A who might have applied will get his visa within 12 months. Immigrant B will be on a waiting list for probably 20 years,” Lee said. “This is wrong.”
Noting that the current law dates back to 1950s, Lee minced no words in calling it “racist.”
“This is the word I hesitate in using and I use it very sparingly but I am going to use it here – it is racist,” he said.
“There is no good reason for us in this day and age in 2020 to be allocating employment based visas based on country of birth,” Lee said.
“A few decades ago, we had people who were making this decision who said, look we don’t want too many people coming from one country. In my view that was probably code for we don’t want too many people who don’t look like us.”
“That’s wrong. We gave up that kind of thinking long time ago in this country,” Lee said. “That’s all this bill does. It gets rid of that.”
On the green card backlog issue, Lee said, “Yes there is a backlog. Why? Because people from India are having to wait for 20 years compared to identically situated Swedes or Germans who get it within a year.
“So, yes there is a backlog. But this (S.386) deals with that backlog. But it does not increase the total number of immigrants and visa holders.”
“There are a lot of rumors on the internet about this bill, a lot of them online and a lot of them make utterly false accusations about this bill,” he said.
Asking people not to pay heed to internet rumors about S.386, Lee declared, “It’s a good bill and it needs to pass.”
Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)
Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)