Bipartisanship has always been at the heart of the immigration debate.
But the Trump administration has turned it into a political issue, with lawmakers arguing that a temporary ban on immigrant visas is needed to prevent an influx of “undocumented” people.
“You’re not going to fix the problems you’ve got if you’re not willing to make some real progress,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
“This is about getting to the root of the problem and not just blaming immigrants and refugees for the problems they’ve created.”
The bipartisan bill, introduced Thursday by Sens.
Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Tom Cotton Jr. (R) and Rep. Jared Polis (D) would ease the requirements for an immigrant visa for those who can show a commitment to work and education and have a family.
It would also allow more people to come to the U.S. as permanent residents.
It could also create a pathway to permanent residency for families with children.
“I am not advocating for any particular group of people to get a green card, but for the rest of us,” said Cotton, a member of the House of Representatives.
“That is what our bill does.
It does not do away with the path to citizenship, but it does create an expedited path to permanent residence.”
The bill has drawn fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle.
The American Immigration Council, a trade group that represents nearly 5,000 employers, called the bill “a huge giveaway to visa fraudsters.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D.W.
Va.), a member, said the bill does not fix the problem, but would allow more Americans to become permanent residents, potentially hurting the economy.
“If this bill becomes law, millions of undocumented workers will be able to apply for a greencard, which will give them a pathway into the United States and create jobs and prosperity for all Americans,” he said.
The proposal was the subject of a new ad from the American Federation of Teachers that highlights the potential benefits of EB-4 visas.
“The Senate bill will help more than 11 million Americans and thousands of families to work, send their kids to college, and contribute to our economy, while helping them become permanent U.N. citizens,” the ad says.
In other words, if we allow these visas, we’re helping to create thousands of jobs, many of them low-wage, and hundreds of thousands of Americans with a bright future.”