While the head of an immigration reform think tank says it's
unlikely that Congress will pass any meaningful immigration
legislation this year, he is concerned that what might get passed
will be bad.
Now that Congress has averted the so-called "fiscal
cliff," Fox News reports that lawmakers will turn
their attention to other issues -- like comprehensive immigration
reform. President Barack Obama has made it clear that he wants to
get an amnesty passed by the newly seated 113th Congress.
But considering the current makeup of Congress, Mark Krikorian,
executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), thinks it
will be difficult to pass anything.
"There's no question that basic legislative changes in
immigration are not going to be happening anytime soon," he
contends. "Or frankly, if they do, it would be in a bad way,
because the Republicans have a significant faction that actually
wants both amnesty and huge increases in future unskilled
immigration. So it's not even a guarantee that the Republicans
would stop that."
Krikorian suggests that the Republican-controlled House should
put forward some legislation to get rid of the visa lottery, even
if it does not have a chance to become law.
"It's still important to do because you need to kind of make
steps in the right direction, build up a consensus, so at some
point -- maybe when there's a different president or a different
makeup of the Senate -- you can get it passed," the CIS executive
He is disappointed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nevada) failed to take up the STEM Jobs Act of 2012, a House
bill that would have eliminated the visa lottery and shifted
immigration priorities to individuals highly educated in math and
technical fields (see earlier story).