USINPAC Continues to Push for Fairer Immigration Bill despite Senate’s Failure to Pass Legislation
The US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) Chairman Sanjay Puri expressed his disappointment that the Senate was not able to pass Comprehensive Immigration legislation that he hoped would have included provisions allowing for a more compassionate family-based immigration system, an increase in the number of H1-B visas and green cards, an expedited green card backlog process, and an easier way for employers to retain high-skilled workers. USINPAC opposed the bill in its current form because it did not fully address these issues.
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri stated, “The bill should have done a lot more to ensure that some of the best and brightest could stay in the U.S. permanently. Instead, the Senate voted down or failed to bring up amendments that would have given them - and their families - a chance to stay here and ensure that the United States - is the destination of choice for these talented individuals thus enabling us to stay on top of the technological and competitive marketplace for skills.”
USINPAC strongly supported strong amendments supporting family-based immigration. An amendment introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) would have granted up to 833,000 more visas than what the current bill offers by changing the date of the family-based clearing process from May 1, 2005 to January 1, 2007. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced an amendment that would have removed the cap on visas for spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents. The bill would have only allowed that right for citizens. Unfortunately, both amendments failed.
Additionally, USINPAC circulated a letter to every Senator to co-sponsor or vote in favor of Senate Amendment 1249 (SA 1249) to the Comprehensive Immigration bill. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced this bipartisan amendment that would have created an employer-based merit system with 140,000 green cards for higher skilled immigrant workers identified by employers and made it easier for visa holders to get green cards. Unfortunately, SA 1249 was never allowed to come up for a vote.
Members of USINPAC also met with various Senate and House Member offices to express the views of the Indian American community regarding this issue. The House or Senate is considering debating immigration reform again later this year, and USINPAC will continue to work to ensure that any final law will include provisions that will allow the United States to remain competitive in the global marketplace and for family-reunification. USINPAC will continue to meet with various offices on Capitol Hill to push for these issues so important to the 2.5 strong million Indian Americans currently in the United States.