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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Negotiations with Grassley Over Priority Date Bill Falter

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Readers of this blog have been having a feisty debate over HR 3012 in the comments and I'm sure this news will reignite the conversation. As many of you know, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) has placed a hold on 3012. A hold is not fatal, but it definitely slows the process down and makes it a lot harder to pass a bill. Several supporters of HR 3012 were negotiating with Senator Grassley to try and get him to back down. Not surprisingly, Senator Grassley wanted several things in return and they proved just too much. For one, he wanted the provision that raised per country family category limits to 15% dropped. He then wanted to re-establish a per country limit in the employment-based categories to 15%. Beyond that, he wanted to kill the green card lottery with no reallocation of those green card numbers (in other words, just shrink the overall green card numbers by 55,000 per year) and, finally, to include the infamous Durbin-Grassley-Sanders H-1B amendment which would impose massive fees on H-1B applications and make the H-1B process closely resemble the PERM labor certification process. I'll report more as I learn more. 

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  1. Limbo's Avatar
    Wouldn't this be considered just a starting point for negotiations? I think there are some positives we can take out of Grassley's proposed amendments, like increasing EB country caps to 15% instead of abolishing them abruptly with little or no grandfathering.

    Obviously, killing the increase in FB immigration quotas would make this bill DOA in the house. Perhaps Grassley would agree to some smaller increase? And perhaps he would agree to watering down his proposals for H-1 visas? Most businesses will not bother with the expense and uncertainty of filing for H-1 if they can hire someone locally. There has to be an easier way to go after the abusers without making life miserable for everyone.

    I hope those negotiating with Grassley are doing so in good faith, and not just refusing to budge on the core components of HR3012. Same with Grassley. This is a chance to make some necessary changes but if both sides dig in, the opportunity will be lost. If each side gets a little of what they want, at least progress is being made.
  2. Sa's Avatar
    I Personally will not take this bargain as it is. We are losing more than what we are gaining.
  3. venky321's Avatar
    I just have to say; this is ...absolutely ridiculous!!

    How can a legislative democracy work, when 100 people; senators, can practically veto anything they don't like.
  4. Sa's Avatar
    "I hope those negotiating with Grassley are doing so in good faith"

    Grassley is the one doing the negotiation in bad faith. He is expecting way too much in return for a bill that tinkers around the edges of immigration. Losing 50k Green cards by eliminating the diversity GC is not worth it . Democrats and Hispanics will actively oppose any bills that does not benefit them , After all the people who sponsor them are citizens and have right to vote.
  5. Sa's Avatar
    "How can a legislative democracy work, when 100 people; senators, can practically veto anything they don't like."

    I know how you feel but the whole practice of the hold stems from "unlimited debate" in the Senate. Of course , Senator Grassley talks about H1B abuse but in my personal opinion , he is the one abusing the "Hold" privilege.
  6. venky321's Avatar
    Yes, if Grassley really cared about H1B abuse and protections he would come up with a reasonable amendment; one that only included protections without basically killing the H1B process; instead of making this ridiculous set of demands, which I am sure he knows is not going to be accepted.

    What else can one think besides that his motivation really is in killing this bill, driven by his interest in limiting immigration from one particular country?
  7. JoeF's Avatar
    "How can a legislative democracy work, when 100 people; senators, can practically veto anything they don't like."
    That only works because politics is very divided at this point in time.

    "I Personally will not take this bargain as it is. We are losing more than what we are gaining."
    Thank you for that.
    I have read posts on trackitt from people who would accept Grassley's amendments...

    I think for all practical purposes, HR3012 is dead.
    Once the wounds are healed, the focus should switch to get improvements for everybody, i.e., recapture, quota increase, and taking dependents out of the quota numbers.
  8. Paul Wilson's Avatar
    Excellent news! Sen. Grassley has once again shown that he is really knowledgeable about immigration and the clowns who went to "educate" him just got educated themselves. It appears this is the beginning of the death of HR 3012. No bill with the HR 3012 text in it will pass through the Senate without Grassley requesting to add his H-1B/L-1 provisions in it. This is the beginning of the end of HR 3012, an extremely harmful, poorly thought-out, and unfair bill. Cheers!
  9. Limbo's Avatar
    I agree that as is, Grassley's amendments expect too much in return for one single thing, raising the EB cap to 15%. He can't expect to get that huge laundry list in return for that. Also, this would make the bill DOA in the house.

    Raising the EB quota to 15% is relatively minor, so he can only expect minor concessions in return.
  10. Sa's Avatar
    "I have read posts on trackitt from people who would accept Grassley's amendments...


    Lets not even bring the trackitt here. The kind of comments made by ROW people are beyond the pale.

    "
    I think for all practical purposes, HR3012 is dead.
    Once the wounds are healed, the focus should switch to get improvements for everybody, i.e., recapture, quota increase, and taking dependents out of the quota numbers."

    Well , we can agree that this bill is dead for all practical purposes and ROW has won the day.

    Lets see how successful ROW people will be in bringing a bill that " get improvements for everybody, i.e., recapture, quota increase, and taking dependents out of the quota numbers."

    If there is any such bill makes as far as 3012 made , I will surely support it . Is there organization other than IV working towards this goal?
  11. Sa's Avatar
    "Excellent news! Sen. Grassley has once again shown that he is really knowledgeable about immigration and the clowns who went to "educate" him just got educated themselves. It appears this is the beginning of the death of HR 3012. No bill with the HR 3012 text in it will pass through the Senate without Grassley requesting to add his H-1B/L-1 provisions in it. This is the beginning of the end of HR 3012, an extremely harmful, poorly thought-out, and unfair bill. Cheers!
    "

    We can agree to disagree whether this bill is fair or unfair but failure of this bill also shows how difficult it would be to increase any green card numbers or for that matter any form of legalization. The anti immigration crowd is winning at the end of the day . ROW might want to think Grassley is their friend ...
  12. Sa's Avatar
    "Yes, if Grassley really cared about H1B abuse and protections he would come up with a reasonable amendment; one that only included protections without basically killing the H1B process; instead of making this ridiculous set of demands, which I am sure he knows is not going to be accepted.

    What else can one think besides that his motivation really is in killing this bill, driven by his interest in limiting immigration from one particular country?
    "

    He wants to kill any relief to any immigrant. If you are waiting in line in EB3 , try to get to EB2. That is the one favor one can do to oneself and prevent any spillover to EB3 so that EBROW will understand what waiting means.

  13. JoeF's Avatar
    "Lets not even bring the trackitt here. The kind of comments made by ROW people are beyond the pale."
    Not just by ROW. By HR3012 supporters as well.
    And I have been mobbed badly there for my support for Dream, including getting my account disabled.

    "If there is any such bill makes as far as 3012 made , I will surely support it . Is there organization other than IV working towards this goal?"
    As I said, once the wounds are healed... At this point, it is unlikely that anybody from ROW would even consider working with IV. IV would need to become welcoming to ROW people again. Them trying to screw over ROW has left a lot of bad blood. Some time will be needed for healing.
  14. Sa's Avatar
    "As I said, once the wounds are healed... At this point, it is unlikely that anybody from ROW would even consider working with IV. IV would need to become welcoming to ROW people again. Them trying to screw over ROW has left a lot of bad blood. Some time will be needed for healing."

    Most of the wounds are self inflicted by the ROW. Legal immigrants waiting in line get shafted by Hispanic lobby all the time because our numbers are small compared to 10 to 20 million undocumented.

    My question is , if IV is bad why cant critics of IV approach come up with a another organization that complements what IV does and not seen as "Indian centric etc" . May be IV will be more than willing to work on the common agenda.

    Again, IV is a very small player in the matters of immigration. My own observation is that ROW never cared for any immigration improvements because status quo working for them very well, 6 years wait is not that bad compared 10 years wait.
  15. venky321's Avatar
    I am not so sure that this bill is dead yet.

    How about a cloture vote? Or is this bill too minor to justify such an effort by the Senate? Don't the parties want to be seen as doing something, anything, for immigration?

    I doubt that Grassley is negotiating in good faith; I wont speculate on his motivations, but a reasonable compromise might be a 25% country limit, keeping the family limit part, not touching the DV lottery, and having reasonable protections for the H1B while not bringing in the LCA process for an H1B also.

    I am in EB2 so I am not personally that affected; but I am feeling rather outraged about all this.
  16. Sa's Avatar
    "I am in EB2 so I am not personally that affected; but I am feeling rather outraged about all this."

    Negotiating with Grassley is like negotiating with the devil on immigration matters. Some ROWERS might think he is negotiating in good faith but I dont think he is . Remember , the negotiations he did on Obamacare bill for months before he dropped out of negotiations.

    I want to know which Democratic senators said no to his amendment.
  17. Limbo's Avatar
    "My question is , if IV is bad why cant critics of IV approach come up with a another organization that complements what IV does and not seen as "Indian centric etc" . May be IV will be more than willing to work on the common agenda. "

    It's difficult for immigrants in ROW to organize because we are so diverse in every way.
  18. Limbo's Avatar
    "How about a cloture vote?"

    I think a "hold" is an informal tradition in the senate that both parties abide by. Why would the Dems break that tradition for such a minor bill in the overall scheme of things? If the Republicans take control of the senate next year, the Dems will want to have holds available to them too in committees where they are a minority. In fact, it's quite possible Grassley will be chairman of the judiciary committee after the next election cycle. Immigration is his bread and butter, and wouldn't take kindly to other members of the committee railroading him on a bill like HR3012.

    Cloture is only for high stakes, high profile bills.
  19. venky321's Avatar
    There have more than 130 clotures invoked in the past 2 congresses and almost 50 so far in the current one. I agree it may not happen for HR 3012, but its more common than I originally thought.
  20. Mike's Avatar
    HR 3012 is not dead yet. But dead for the year 2011. If they invoke Cloture Grassley cannot do anything. I am not sure why they are not doing.I think they will try to convince Grassley and finally they may invoke Cloture. I think it is not difficult to get 60 votes. For Rowers not to relax till the bill is dropped or defeated. Indians still have chance for this bill but not before march. If they negotiate with Grassley the bill willbe diluted if they are interested a compromise
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