Splintering the 'comprehensive immigration reform' coalition

The House GOP leadership is under increasing pressure to wake up to the need to torpedo the euphemistically-titled “comprehensive immigration reform” effort. Byron York of the Washington Examiner explains the developing movement.

… comprehensive immigration reform involves much more than H-1B visas [that allow high-skilled immigrants into the United States]. But the tech giants supported comprehensive reform, with its increases in unskilled immigration, its legalization of currently illegal immigrants, its path to citizenship, its byzantine agricultural provisions and much, much more because they wanted the H-1B boost.

For a long time, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform have thought: Why shouldn't the Republican-controlled House pass an H-1B expansion as a stand-alone bill? If the tech people got what they wanted, would they — and their millions of dollars — really stick around to fight hard for the rest of comprehensive reform? Passing an H-1B bill would be an excellent way to split the fragile pro-reform coalition.

Now, it looks as if that could be happening. On March 19, the executive director of Compete America, Scott Corley, published an op-ed urging lawmakers to pass the SKILLS Act, which is a measure to increase H-1B visas. "There is widespread agreement among both parties and in both chambers of Congress that high-skilled immigration is good for the economy," Corley wrote. "Congress needs to act now."

The major reason so many mainstream GOP figures have been supportive of legalizing millions of illegals, which almost inevitably would lead to them voting and swinging the electorate even further to the left, is that big business donors want those H-1B visas. But as York points out, if they get their wish, there is no reason to enact all the other provisions. So:

The move set off alarm bells among Democrats. If the tech people were to pull out, and take their money with them, or even if they just lost their passion for the fight — where would that leave the tenuous reform coalition? In a much weaker position.

So on Tuesday, an unhappy Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin wrote to the tech CEOs saying Senate Democrats will not -- no way, no how -- support a standalone H-1B bill. "It was my understanding that high tech was committed to supporting [the Gang of Eight bill] because the industry's top priorities are addressed in our legislation," Durbin wrote. "I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry's concerns." (snip)

Now it is Speaker John Boehner's move. If the House were to pass H-1B expansion, the GOP would win support from at least some in the tech world. And Democrats would be standing in the way of admitting more high-skilled workers into this country.

Boehner needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming if necessary, into passing such legislation. No doubt, Hary Reid would stonewall it in the Senate, which would then gie big business a powerful reason to support a GOP takeover of the Senate, so as to get it passed in that chamber and put on Obama’s desk. With his many ties to and dependence on Silicon Valley a veto of such a bill could cost him and the Democratic Party dearly in 2016 and beyond.

Hat tip: Instapundit

The House GOP leadership is under increasing pressure to wake up to the need to torpedo the euphemistically-titled “comprehensive immigration reform” effort. Byron York of the Washington Examiner explains the developing movement.

… comprehensive immigration reform involves much more than H-1B visas [that allow high-skilled immigrants into the United States]. But the tech giants supported comprehensive reform, with its increases in unskilled immigration, its legalization of currently illegal immigrants, its path to citizenship, its byzantine agricultural provisions and much, much more because they wanted the H-1B boost.

For a long time, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform have thought: Why shouldn't the Republican-controlled House pass an H-1B expansion as a stand-alone bill? If the tech people got what they wanted, would they — and their millions of dollars — really stick around to fight hard for the rest of comprehensive reform? Passing an H-1B bill would be an excellent way to split the fragile pro-reform coalition.

Now, it looks as if that could be happening. On March 19, the executive director of Compete America, Scott Corley, published an op-ed urging lawmakers to pass the SKILLS Act, which is a measure to increase H-1B visas. "There is widespread agreement among both parties and in both chambers of Congress that high-skilled immigration is good for the economy," Corley wrote. "Congress needs to act now."

The major reason so many mainstream GOP figures have been supportive of legalizing millions of illegals, which almost inevitably would lead to them voting and swinging the electorate even further to the left, is that big business donors want those H-1B visas. But as York points out, if they get their wish, there is no reason to enact all the other provisions. So:

The move set off alarm bells among Democrats. If the tech people were to pull out, and take their money with them, or even if they just lost their passion for the fight — where would that leave the tenuous reform coalition? In a much weaker position.

So on Tuesday, an unhappy Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin wrote to the tech CEOs saying Senate Democrats will not -- no way, no how -- support a standalone H-1B bill. "It was my understanding that high tech was committed to supporting [the Gang of Eight bill] because the industry's top priorities are addressed in our legislation," Durbin wrote. "I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry's concerns." (snip)

Now it is Speaker John Boehner's move. If the House were to pass H-1B expansion, the GOP would win support from at least some in the tech world. And Democrats would be standing in the way of admitting more high-skilled workers into this country.

Boehner needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming if necessary, into passing such legislation. No doubt, Hary Reid would stonewall it in the Senate, which would then gie big business a powerful reason to support a GOP takeover of the Senate, so as to get it passed in that chamber and put on Obama’s desk. With his many ties to and dependence on Silicon Valley a veto of such a bill could cost him and the Democratic Party dearly in 2016 and beyond.

Hat tip: Instapundit

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