Greg Ip

Articles by The Economist’s U.S. Economics Editor

Skilled immigration: Green-card blues

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A backlash against foreign workers dims business hopes for immigration reform

Oct 28th 2010 | WASHINGTON, DC

[Greg Ip] BAD as relations are between business and the Democrats, immigration was supposed to be an exception. On that topic the two have long had a marriage of convenience, with business backing comprehensive reform in order to obtain more skilled foreign workers.

That, at least, was what was meant to happen. In March Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican, proposed a multi-faceted reform that would toughen border controls and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants while granting two longstanding goals of business: automatic green cards (that is, permanent residence) for students who earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or maths in America, and an elimination of country quotas on green cards. The quotas bear no relationship to demand, leaving backlogs of eight to ten years for applicants from China and India. Barack Obama immediately announced his support.

But the proposal never became a bill, much less law. Mr Graham developed cold feet and withdrew his support; he was concerned that the Democrats were moving too quickly, as the economic misery that has turned Americans against foreign trade spread to dislike of foreign workers.

The entire article is linked here.

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Written by gregip

October 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

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