A great majority of the skill based non-immigrants waiting to legally immigrate to the US (in simple words, temporary worker visa holders waiting to get their green cards) are from South Asia. While these workers don’t win by numbers compared to illegal workers, they are definitely an asset to the American society. Largely law abiding, highly motivated and skilled, by some estimates, these people are responsible for starting upto 25% of the companies in the Silicon Valley.
These people have waiting patiently for years working their way through grad school or working in different jobs in different states in the hope of achieving that ever elusive American dream, and yet, when the US lawmakers had the chance to set the system right, they screwed this law abiding group, sending a strong message that in the US, illegal workers get the priority. US lawmakers often accuse President Bush of living in a bubble, but one wonders what kind of bubble are they themselves living in? Or maybe, they are not living in the bubble at all, because despite all the platitudes about this bill being forward looking, it actually is exceedingly favorible towards illegal workers. It seems like the lobbies of illegal immigrants were present behind closed doors when details of this bill were being thrashed out. You can read about some of the many flaws of this bill here, but to highlight just a few absolutely absurd ones:
- Instead of the current allocation of 140,000 immigrant visas (green card) to skilled workers, this bill brings it down to 90,000.
- It will require H1B holders to renew their visas on an annual basis.
- Under its merit based points system, an agriculture worker can earn 25 points for working 100 days a year for 5 years, while a skilled individual will get 10 points for working the same number of years!
- Economic contribution by the undocumented is recognized by awarding points for property ownership but not for people working legally.
Legal workers in the US have for years maintained the right of the United States to implement an immigration system that is fair and is in the best national interest of the country. By any reasonable standards, the current bill is neither in the best national interest of the US, nor does it offer a fair shake to the people who’ve been law abiding residents for years.
As of now, it seems like the powerful lobbies of Hispanic workers will be able to amend this bill even more in the favor of illegal workers while legal immigrants, majority of them do not have the time or the inclination to be activists, will be left holding the bag.