American Immigration Lawyers Association on March 25, 2010 held their National Day of Action in an effort to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. The AILA National Day of Action is an annual event in which immigration lawyers from across the country meet in Washington DC for the purpose of speaking with members of Congress and their staff, gathering information about the legislative schedule, and urging that a comprehensive immigration bill be voted on before the November elections.
Congress was deeply divided and Democrats wanted to now focus their efforts on an issue with which they could find bipartisan support before the upcoming midterm elections. In this climate, the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform being brought before Congress in the near future looked slim. However, Congress was also feeling pressure from the other side. In addition to the health care protesters, 2000 members of the immigrant community had gathered that weekend to urge Congress to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had announced that they would soon be proposing a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate but no firm details as to the specifics of the bill were known. Conventional wisdom is that Rep. Graham’s support for such legislation is conditioned on his ability to convince at least one other Republican in the Senate to sign on.
There was also some discussions about pushing to Accept Chinese Talent Now Act (H.R. 3532) which is a resolution to end the unfair limitation of Chinese green card availability. Following the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989, the American government passed the Chinese Student Protection Act which gave thousands of green cards to Chinese students. However, hidden in this law was a provision which subtracted 1000 visas from China’s annual employment based visa quota until the difference of 55,000 visas was made up. This provision greatly harms the next generation of Chinese immigrants because China often reaches its maximum green card allocation every year and Chinese immigrants already face a greater wait time for employment based green cards than most other countries. By passing the Accept Chinese Talent Now Act, Congress could end this unfair practice and restore China’s green card availability back to equaling that of every other country.
We will keep you posted on the recent developments on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform.