If this decade started with a bang for immigration law, it is definitely ending with a whimper. The two influences in immigration law are economy and politics. The decade started with the dot com boom and the signing of the AC-21 bill easing numerous provisions of business immigration law, including the ability to port petitions from different employers, the increase of H-1B numbers to 195,000. Yet even before the ink dried on that bill 9-11 happened, followed by the dot com bust. The H-1B quota, although always filled before the end of the CIS fiscal year, reverted back to the original 65,000; never to be increased again.
The Bush years saw NO immigration bills being passed. We, immigration attorneys did not need to learn any new things, except for a procedure change in the filing of the PERM. The Labor filings got better, best and now its back to being late again. We have traveled a full cycle there.
For the last couple of years the buzz words “comprehensive immigration reforms” created numerous bills all dying on the floors of either the senate or the house. Amongst the earlier ones with promise and somewhat of a bi-partisan support was the McCain-Kennedy. Ted Kennedy has since died, and John McCain unsuccessfully ran for President. Also dead on the floors are the ‘Dream Acts” legalizing college grads who were brought to the United States as little children by their parents illegally. These promising students are illegal through no fault of their own, studied here, went to college here, but cannot work legally.
The economic recession of 2009 saw a rise in anti immigration feelings, along with raids by Government agencies to businesses hiring illegal immigrants. This was followed by the Obama administration on the H-1B raids. Small businesses, the backbone of the American economy is seeing their H-1B petitions denied in record numbers because the CIS believes that employers want to commit fraud. Which small employer can afford to pay $1570/- filing fees for each H-1B employee just to commit fraud?
Can the two parties with their divergent political views ever be able to pass one “comprehensive” immigration bill in the next decade? The Republican with people like
Joe “you lie” Wilson conservatives want to make life harder for illegal immigrants who work as day laborers or gardeners. Amnesty is a bad word for these “religious” right wing conservatives. The Democrats don’t want business immigration, and cracks down on H-1B and other programs. At a debate on immigration Nancy Pelosi wanted to increase further the H-1B filing fees (because the businesses have the ability to pay)to account for the illegal immigrants which are hired by non H-1B employers.
Can these conflicting factions ever come to together and pass a comprehensive immigration bill? Unlike the health care bill the impetus to cut deals with senators to get their vote will not be there, because the bill will benefit a non voting section of society. Hopefully we will have a brave new decade.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details.