The comprehensive immigration overhaul planned in the US congress to fix chronic problems in its system has set off a raging debate on its merits and demerits. The immigration bill proposed by a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican senators is the most ambitious effort for the past 25 years and may reverse the trend of Illegal immigration statistics.
Thrust on Merit
President Obama is in favour of creating a merit-based program for Green cards, or a visa entitled for legal permanent residency on the basis of a point system.
The biggest criticism the bill is facing is the proposal to grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants as a step towards reorienting future immigration. By extending state benefits to illegal migrants (or as some call them ‘law breakers) critics say the fiscal deficit of US will only continue to bloat.
Bonanza for Illegal Immigrants
In an effort to reduce Illegal immigration statistics there is a 13-year roadmap prescribed for granting citizenship to incoming immigrants. Consensus eludes the issue of legalization of illicit immigrants and its impact on the overall economy. One Republican group study argues that reform could raise economic growth by a percentage point, raise GDP by $1,500 per person and reduce the fiscal deficit by $2.5 trillion.
Pro-reform groups argue that fair treatment of those in the country already living as illegal migrants and facing many types of exploitations and threat of deportation deserves a sense of security. They also say family unification cannot be ignored in the name of employment-based visas.
As to the proposed Obama Immigration Reform for Students Foreign students will be the biggest winners from the new law. The bill radically alters the texture of current law by encouraging foreign students at U.S. institutions to apply for green cards while they are in the US on student visas. The Obama’s Immigration Reform calls it “dual intent.”
Those Immigrants who have earned advanced degrees at U.S. institutions in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math called STEM fields will gain a lot under this immigration reform through favorable consideration.
The visas for highly-skilled workers will also double under the proposal. As a result H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers can increase to 115,000. There is also plan to generate more such visas on the basis of market demand. The spouses of H-1B visa holders will also be allowed to live and work in the US.
Family Ties to Take Back Seat
Under the new law, it is hoped that in a decade or so, the balance of immigration would tilt in favor of merit and 75 percent of visas now going to family members of existing immigrants will move to newly qualified immigrants.
For and Against
While financial pundits raise the bogey of regularizing illegal residents as a drain on the nation’s resources, Conservatives argue that the newly legal individuals would misuse costly federal benefits. They also fear that temporary immigrant labour will drive down wages and ultimately the currently unemployed or underemployed will rule the job market.