Hat-tip to Gordo: Democrats and moderate Republicans want to draft a new immigration bill that will give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and defund the proposed fence along the US-Mexico border.
The lawmakers are considering abandoning a requirement in the Senate bill that would compel several million illegal immigrants to leave the U.S. to become eligible to apply for citizenship. The lawmakers are also considering denying financing for 700 miles of fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico that was authorized in a law, written by Republicans, which passed this year.
The greatest irony here is that since illegal immigration is a race issue important to many Hispanic voters, while legal immigration is mostly seen as a denial of the upper middle class’s inalienable right to employment, it’ll be easier to get citizenship as an illegal than as a legal immigrant.
Right now, a legal immigrant to the US typically starts as a college student, then gets a graduate or professional degree, and then gets an H1-B visa, from which position he can apply for a green card. Lately the green card application backlog is so long that some people have to leave the US for a while since H1-B visas only last for 6 years after renewal. In other words, a legal immigrant takes about 15 years just to get a green card.
Unfortunately, legal immigrants don’t have a powerful lobby. On the contrary, disgruntled American computer programmers have a vested interest in keeping legal immigrants out. This despite the fact that evidence from Canada, which has a somewhat saner immigration policy, suggests that the group that integrates the most slowly is refugees, while economic immigrants integrate quickly.