Mike Lee’s Closeness to Romney Could Doom His Green Card Giveaway
Written by Luis Miguel
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has been attempting to pass a bill that would significantly increase the number of immigrants given work visas to America, particularly from India. But the legislation may be hindered by Lee’s association with fellow Utahn Mitt Romney , who is now facing blowback from Republicans following his vote to convict President Trump during the impeachment trial.
The bill sponsored by Lee, S. 386, titled the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, is championed by Utah big tech as a way of providing the industry with cheap skilled workers.
“Lee’s immigration bill will give Silicon Slopes the high-tech workers it needs,” wrote the Salt Lake Tribune encouragingly, in reference to the Beehive State’s burgeoning equivalent of Silicon Valley.
The author of the pro-S. 386 article, Miles Hansen, praised the proposed legislation using familiar immigration lobby talking points such as the alleged lack of enough skilled American citizen workers to keep up with growing business needs.
As president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah, it’s a story I hear over and over. One tech company in Sandy recently had to turn down significant new business opportunities because such visa restrictions made it impossible to bring on several qualified workers from India who were needed to meet growing demand.
That’s why I am grateful for Sen. Mike Lee’s leadership in introducing legislation called the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” that would remove the per-country cap for employment-based visas.
Yet the bill is currently stalled in the Senate, despite receiving bipartisan sponsorship and support – including 19 Republicans and 16 Democrats – and overwhelmingly passed in the House last summer, thanks in part to all four members of Utah’s congressional delegation. Clearly, leaders across the nation understand why reform is good for business and our immigration system.
Currently, the U.S. government awards about 120,000 green cards a year to foreign workers who have been nominated by their employers. Current caps limit the number of green cards that can be given to workers from each country.
Thus, only about 10,000 Indian workers, along with their approximately 10,000 spouses and children, get green cards from their employers per year. Although many more Indian workers (roughly 70,000 in 2018 alone) enter the country using the uncapped, three-year Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, a green card is considered the “jackpot” because it puts recipients on the path to citizenship.
The bill being championed by Lee would remove the country caps. The dramatic surge of white-collar Indian workers this would cause is why the Indian government itself is backing S. 386. U.S. companies like the bill because they can pay foreign workers lower wages than their American counterparts and are not required to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes for them as they would with citizen employees.
About 1.5 million American jobs are presently held by visa workers, mostly from India and China.
A matching bill, H.R. 1044, has already passed the House with strong backing from the Utah delegation.
“Utah has witnessed incredible growth in our tech and innovation sector…. However, everywhere I go, I hear from business leaders that they do not have enough high-skilled workers,” said Representative John Curtis (R-Utah), a supporter of the bill.
Although Lee voted against the infamous “Gang of Eight,” amnesty bill in 2013, it would not be the first time he has undergone a major shift in stance.
In 2011, for example, he called for the application of antitrust laws against Google and Facebook, which regularly censor right-wing political views. But by 2019, as the two tech giants increased their investment in Utah, Lee was defending them.
Lee has been close to Romney, a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose popularity among LDS Utahns allowed him to win a Senate seat there despite having built his political career in Massachusetts.
But Romney’s decision to join with Democrats in the impeachment trial was unpopular even in his own state. In a tweet, Lee emphasized the difference in the two men’s views with regard to the impeachment issue.
Lee’s work to bring more foreign workers into the country has largely been operating on stealth mode with little attention from the media. But the consequences his bill would bring in terms of work opportunities for white collar American workers and demographic voting tendencies would be substantial.
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American