Over the next two days, the House Judiciary Committee will be considering the “Legal Workforce Act” and the “Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act,” – or the SKILLS Act for short. Both bills deal with issues taken up in the bipartisan immigration reform bill that the Senate will pass later this week, but both bills also contain serious problems that will force me to oppose supporting the bills as standalone measures.
While the Senate is on the verge of overwhelmingly passing historic, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, the House is currently considering piecemeal legislation that does nothing to address the long-standing problems of our broken immigration system. Perhaps most importantly, not one of the bills being considered in the House Judiciary Committee offers undocumented immigrants living within our country an opportunity to earn permanent legal status.
If anything, a number of these recent attempts at piecemeal immigration “reform” would only make things worse by increasing the likelihood of racial profiling, crime, and worker abuse. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee marked up an enforcement-only bill that would turn millions of undocumented immigrants into criminals overnight and would turn every police officer in the country into immigration agents, jeopardizing public safety and undercutting community policing efforts. Another bill, which would create a new agricultural guesterworker program, eliminates basic labor protections that will undercut American workers and lead to worker abuse. Moreover, the bill provides an unrealistic solution to our agricultural industry, which now depends overwhelmingly on the work of undocumented immigrants, and would put millions of American jobs at risk.
At this week’s markup, my fellow representatives and I will be expressing our concerns, taking a stand against unreasonable policies, and urging those on the other side of the aisle to adopt a different approach to immigration.
Will be live-tweeting the markup throughout the day. Follow us on Twitter @HouseJudDems for updates.
Congressman John Conyers