FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., is urging Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to oppose immigration provisions in the proposed budget reconciliation bill that would make hundreds of thousands more employment-based green cards available – provisions Hagerty calls “the crown jewel of corporate lobbying.”
In a letter to the Vermont senator, Hagerty notes that Sanders has spent much of his career as an “outspoken critic of large-scale migration that displaces American workers” and noted comments in 2007 in which Sanders said that the U.S. should not bring “millions of people into this country who are prepared to lower wages for Americans workers.”
“For most of your career, you have been an outspoken critic of large-scale migration that displaces American workers – especially corporate-driven immigration policies – citing the substantial harm they inflict upon American job opportunities, wages, and employment conditions.”
Hagerty points to provisions in the House version of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act – which Democrats are seeking to get through the Senate via the budget reconciliation process – including language that would “recapture” employment-based green cards.
“Entirely separate from the controversial provisions in the House bill providing legal status to illegal immigrants, the bill includes several provisions that effectively terminate, for at least 10 years, all numerical limits on the annual allotment of green cards,” he writes. “Of particular concern is the elimination of statutory caps on the entry of foreign workers employed by many of America’s largest and most powerful corporations.”
The language, would allow “unused visas” – or the difference between the visa cap and the visas actually allotted – to be “recaptured” and re-used. This provision would recapture visas all the back to 1992. This would make hundreds of thousands of green cards – which grant permanent residency – available for use. Proponents argue that it is simply using visas that had been authorized by Congress but never actually assigned.
Hagerty notes that the green cards would greatly benefit those in the tech sector, and that such provisions have been backed by tech giants in Silicon Valley like Facebook and Microsoft, calling them “the crown jewel of corporate lobbying.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on how 80,000 green cards were set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021 alone, and reporting how Silicon Valley giants have made changing green card processing a priority — and are feeling pressure from their employees.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calling on the Biden administration to “explore every legal avenue to preserve or recapture visa numbers that expire.”
FWD.us, a Silicon Valley-based non-profit founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has also called for provisions allowing for the recapturing of green cards.
However, immigration hawks have argued that the lobbying for more employment visas more generally is used by corporations to bring in cheap foreign labor and keep wages stagnant.
“Despite our disagreements on a number of policy issues, I cannot imagine that, based on your career’s work, you could countenance the provision contained in the House bill, which amounts to an enormous corporate-special-interest giveaway,” Hagerty writes.
The letter from Hagerty to Sanders comes just as Democrats have been outlining their latest effort to include legal status for an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants after prior efforts were shot down by the Senate parliamentarian.