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The Politics of High-Skilled Immigration Reform

December 5, 2011

Yesterday’s Washington Post article on the politics of high-skilled immigration reform is timely in light of the recent passage of engrossed H.R. 3012, which was received in the Senate on November 30th.

As reported by the Post,

[Brookings Institution scholar Darrell West] said the question of admitting highly skilled immigrants might seem simple from a policy standpoint because they make up a small percentage of immigrants and their potential to boost the U.S. economy is widely acknowledged.

To solve that problem alone, though, might make it difficult to enact more comprehensive reform that also grapples with the politically divisive issue of how to handle the millions of undocumented immigrants who live here as well, he said.

“If you strip out the most popular part of the immigration reform, it makes it virtually impossible to do the rest of comprehensive reform,” he said.“The immigrants’ rights organizations don’t want this to pass unless they can attach the rest of the agenda.”

The objection is stated more directly further in the article

“We’re not in the business of putting one skill set against the other,” [Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum] said. “Let’s stop thinking about the farm worker and the janitor as someone who doesn’t contribute to our economy, to be blunt.”

 

 

 

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