Mike Lee, senior senator from
Bangalore Utah, almost had it in the bag yesterday, the long-sought-after passage of his “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrant Act,” aka Senate Bill S.386. At 3:00 pm, minutes before the anticipated passage of the bill by Unanimous Consent, his Republican colleague Rick Scott of Florida stopped it in its tracks, by proclaiming his so-called “Florida objection.”
S. 386, as we have discussed here numerous times, most recently on Monday of this week, would potentially pave the way for up to 600,000 Indian guest workers and their families to remain permanently in the United States. Lee has been steering the bill through the unpredictable maze of Senatorial obstacles for more than a year and a half, confronting and eventually neutralizing objections by Republican colleagues Rand Paul (Ky) and David Perdue (Ga) and finally by Democrat Dick Durbin (Il). He appeared to be home free on Wednesday, when out of the blue, Scott of Florida put a surprise kibosh on his dream.
Scott’s objection to the bill–which he made clear he had discussed with the White House–has to do with the backlog of requests for green cards the bill is designed to alleviate. While Indian guest workers form the largest part of that backlog, Scott is anxious to ensure that other nationalities also waiting for green cards–especially the Latin Americans so numerous in his state of Florida–are not left behind in the massive Indian stampede for green cards the bill is expected to create.
Senator Lee, responding to Scott, charged that Scott’s amendment would “create a carve-out for people based on the language that they speak.” Referring to Scott’s citing of Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and other language groups prevalent in Florida, Lee rhetorically opined, “What is it about the speakers of those languages that make them more deserving of an allocation of an employment-based visa than the speakers of Hindi or any of the languages spoken in India?”
A truly American representative might have asked instead, What is it about the speakers of those languages AND the languages of India that make them more deserving of American jobs than Americans?
But this unseemly contretemps on the Senate floor didn’t go that way. It boiled down to a face-off between two white Republican Senators each championing his own favorite foreign ethnicities: Scott, on the one hand promoting Latin Americans, versus Lee, going to bat for his Indian clients. Lost in the kerfuffle was any concern for plain old English-speaking American workers, as the participants fell over themselves proclaiming their absolute commitment to diversity.
The whole mess prompted John Miano, a lawyer with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, to rightly declare, “These people in Congress don’t work for Americans – they have their own special interests that are not the American people.”
So, where to now for S.386? As noted above, Scott assured his colleagues that the White House was on board with taking a pause to study the bill further with regard to its possible unforeseen results. This would fit with President Trump’s remarks on the previous day regarding the TVA’s replacement of American workers with H-1Bs.
In keeping with the history of this bill, Scott’s opposition is for the wrong reasons, but as Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA said after a similar roadblock stopped it last year, “I don’t care why they block it, as long as they block it.”
For more, see Breitbart News.
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