Mike Lee, Kamala Harris Join Forces to Lift Immigration Country Caps

Mike Lee, Kamala Harris Join Forces to Lift Immigration Country Caps
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks to reporters during a news conference on Dec. 19, 2018. (Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined forces today on legislation to remove caps that limit how many immigrants can get job-based green cards from a specific country.

The senators argue that the caps unfairly limit the number of high-skilled immigrants that can come to the U.S. The bill’s support is as broad-ranging as the Heritage Foundation and La Raza.

Lee introduced the bill in the 115th Congress but it stalled in the Judiciary Committee. It racked up 20 co-sponsors through the end of November.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 creates a “first-come, first-served” system to process green cards and increases the per-country caps for family-sponsored green cards from 7 percent to 15 percent.

“Immigrants should not be penalized due to their country of origin,” Lee said in a statement. “Treating people fairly and equally is part of our founding creed and the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act reflects that belief.”

“Immigration is often a contentious issue, but we should not delay progress in areas where there is bipartisan consensus just because we have differences in other areas,” he added.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jim Moran (R-Kansas), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell D-Wash.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Harris said that “ours is a nation of immigrants, and our strength has always come from our diversity and our unity.”

“We must do more to eliminate discriminatory backlogs and facilitate family unity so that high-skilled immigrants are not vulnerable to exploitation and can stay in the U.S. and continue to contribute to the economy,” the California Dem said. “I’m proud to join with Senator Lee on this bipartisan legislation to ensure that our country remains vibrant and dynamic.”