Immigration reform a top priority

Friday, January 4, 2013
Chad Groening (

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 explains.

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).

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