- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
House passes bill to cancel diversity visa lottery
The House voted Friday to cancel the annual diversity visa lottery and give those immigration visas to high-tech foreign-born who earn advanced degrees from American universities, as Republicans powered through their chamber the first major immigration bill since the election.
The 245-139 vote was a test of the GOP’s plan to tackle immigration piecemeal, and while the bill passed, the strong opposition from Democrats suggests that Republicans’ strategy will face difficult hurdles.
And while the chief selling point of the bill was to boost green cards given to science, technology, engineering and technology students, the bigger fight came over Republicans’ plans to cancel the diversity visa lottery, which the GOP argues is rife with fraud.
“We want to put to the head of the line the people who, every single one of them that comes, net creates jobs,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, who managed the bill on the House floor.
Democrats, though, objected to making immigration a zero-sum equation, where any new visas would have to come at the expense of existing lines of immigration.
“I can’t support a bill that pits immigrant communities against each other,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the ranking Democrat on the House immigration subcommittee.
She also said that it’s not a one-to-one exchange, and immigration would actually decrease under the GOP bill.
While all 55,000 diversity visas are used every year, she said statistics from the National Science Foundation show that there are only about 30,000 students a year who would even qualify.
After Hispanics were credited with helping boost President Obama in this year’s elections, both parties have been eager to find ways to tackle immigration.
Democrats say they want to pass a broad bill that legalizes most illegal immigrants and rewrites the legal immigration system, while House Speaker John A. Boehner has said his chamber will go piece-by-piece.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree more should be done to keep desirable would-be immigrants, such as those earning advanced degrees, here in the U.S. But they disagree over whether to do that as a stand-alone, or what should be coupled with it.
In the case of this week’s bill, it eliminates the diversity visa lottery — a long-time target of some Republicans, who say it invites fraud and could be a national security risk.
The lottery doles out immigration visas based on chance, with the goal of giving those in lesser-represented countries a chance to earn a spot. Every year, millions of would-be immigrants apply for the 55,000 slots.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, who wrote the legislation, said the visa lottery invites fraud.
In an effort to sweeten the bill for Democrats, he included a provision that would allow legal immigrants to let their family members, who are also seeking green cards, to wait in the U.S. with them, rather than have to wait in their home countries.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Nevada rescuers frenzied to find 4 kids, 2 adults lost in snow
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama eulogizes Mandela, calls him 'the last great liberator'
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- EDITORIAL: Colorado ruling takes the cake
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow