Miami Herald: Republicans’ S.386 Bill Hurts Latino Legal Immigrants

naturalization ceremony
Rick Scuteri/AP

A Republican endorsement of the draft giveaway of green cards to Silicon Valley employers will sideline many Latino legal immigrants in GOP-led Florida, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

“If you’re a Colombian who is one of the leading authorities in the world on climate change and you want to apply today to get a visa, [you’re] going to wait 10, 20 or even 30 years,” Ira Kurzban, a Miami immigration attorney, told the Miami Herald. The December 11 article is headlined “Latin American immigrants could face visa backlog under proposed changes in Congress.”

President Donald Trump won Florida in November, partly because of a spike in support among Latinos.

The green card giveaway to Valley investors is the core feature of Utah Sen Mike Lee’s (R) S.386 bill and the matching HR.1044 bill passed in the House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

GOP and Democrat leaders are now weighing if they will include the two giveaway bills in the must-pass, year-end spending bill.

If included, the two bills would steer most of the annual supply of 140,000 employment green cards to the Valley’s mid-skill Indian H-1B visa workers, thus leaving fewer green cards for other migrants, including Latinos hired by businesses in Florida.

The giveaway would not increase the annual number of green cards. Still, it would encourage many additional Indian graduates to get work permits via U.S. universities so they can compete for tech jobs, H-1B visas, and green cards. Already, the universities’ uncapped Optional Practical Training program is annually used by roughly 300,000 foreign graduates to take jobs sought by American graduates. The foreign workers are part of the nation’s Green Card Economy, which sidelines more than one million American graduates.

Several GOP senators decided to support Lee’s giveaway bill after getting minor gains for industries and constituencies in their states.

In August, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) blocked Lee’s bill but then dropped his opposition in December amid aggressive demonstrations by Indian contract workers in Florida and silence from the establishment media about the high-stakes issue and backroom political pressure on many GOP senators.

Still, Scott won a prize for Florida by limiting the shares of green cards that can be won by the Valley’s Indian and Chinese visa workers. That provision protects the ability of Florida employers to provide green cards to some non-Indian workers, for example, employees from Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica — or the Philippines and Europe — while still reserving and expanding most of the worker inflow for the tech sector.

The Miami Herald reported December 11:

[Sen.] Scott’s office and immigration attorneys say Democrats are trying to include the House version of the bill — which does not include Scott’s amendments — in a year-end spending bill that will shut down the federal government if it isn’t passed. The House and Senate agreed to a one-week extension on Friday as negotiations on the spending bill continue ahead of a Dec. 18 deadline.

Scott would likely oppose the bill again, if it reaches a full vote without his amendments. “The challenge with this bill is getting people to pay attention,” Scott spokesperson Chris Hartline said. “It’s a significant change to the immigration system that’s happening behind the scenes.”

Many staffers and offices are providing Breitbart News with conflicting reports about how GOP senators are treating Lee’s giveaway during the backroom negotiations.

One concern, one immigration activist said, is that the GOP leaders secretly want to pass Lee’s giveaway — but are hiding their support so that voters do not blame them before the next elections, the January 5 runoffs in Georgia. Many polls show that voters want to like immigrants but strongly prefer companies to hire Americans before importing more workers.

Not one Republican or Democrat senator opposed Lee’s S.386 bill when he passed it through the Senate via the “Unanimous Consent” process on December 2 — even though GOP candidates had recently lost support among college graduates in the November election.

Many business groups — including Florida groups — are lobbying GOP senators for more cheap labor:

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