Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), an outspoken supporter for so-called Dreamers who are in the country illegally and advocates that 800,000 of them get amnesty and even a pathway to citizenship, has evolved on his immigration stance.
“We have both met Dreamers and heard their stories,” Schumer co-wrote with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a commentary posted on CNN last September. “We know that these young people represent what’s great about our country and they should be allowed to stay.”
“They are an integral part of our communities, and their stories, their tenacity, and fearlessness make them as American as apple pie,” Schumer and Pelosi wrote.
But on Oct. 26, 1990, just about a month before Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990, Schumer was all in for the legislation, which made skill-based immigration a priority over family relationships.
“If your job is a home care person—these are the people who built America, and there are going to be more of them, and that’s good for the country,” Schumer said in a C-SPAN clip of a press conference posted on YouTube, citing home healthcare workers as an example of skilled immigrants.
“The second premise of the bill is that for the first time we’re saying it should not simply be family relationships that determine who comes here,” Schumer said.
“This bill says if you have a skill that America needs we’re going to accept you,” Schumer said.
“In the past, that was very, very, very difficult,” Schumer said. “Less than 4 percent of immigrants came because—or were admitted to this country because we needed their help in the job market.”
“And now that percentage will increase significantly,” Schumer said.
The Immigration Act of 1990 also changed federal law to allow homosexuals and HIV/AIDS-infected individual to come to the United States and started the VISA lottery program:
Enacted on November 29, 1990, the Immigration Act of 1990 was an amendment in United States immigration law that increased the number of legal immigrants that entered into the United States every year. In addition, the amendment introduced a “lottery” system which assigned visas to immigrants randomly. The main reason for this was to change previous United States immigration law that prohibited the granting of visas to immigrants from certain countries. Other immigration law changes that were included in the act was a stipulation that prevented immigrants from entering the United States because of their homosexuality. Another restriction that was lifted as a result of the enacted United States immigration law was restrictions against immigrants that are HIV-positive.
Democrats are critical of President Donald Trump’s support for merit or skill-based immigration as the debate over reforming the Act continues.