Senate Buries US Immigration Bill For Good!

No Chance of H1B Quota Hike Before 2008 Elections

You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time — Abraham Lincoln

This famous quote from one of the pillars of American Democracy rings very true in the recent debacle of President Bush’s Immigration Reform Bill. A last ditch effort to make a mark by a President who is on his way out; jumpy senators trying to avoid getting on the bad side of voters – all in all it was a wrong time for the Bill,, which failed to garner support even the second time round. However, as the recent debates have brought to light, the U.S. Immigration needs serious overhauling and somebody will eventually have to do it. Will the future President rise to the challenge?

Well, que sera sera. For now, we have to contend with the reality. The Immigration Reform Bill has sunk and taken with the hope of any hike in the visa numbers. President George W. Bush’s daring bet to solve America’s immigration problem by legalizing the millions of illegal immigrants living in US fell flat as his own party members refused to support him.

Despite its ill fate, the bill did try to solve some of America’s long standing immigration problem.  Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US, the country has been trying to balance between its earlier reputation as the “land of opportunities” and the new weary and almost hostile approach towards “suspicious” immigrants.

Recently, US have been showing a conscious effort towards salvaging its friendly reputation and re-assuring immigrants. Of course, the fact that some of the corporate giants in US depend heavily on immigrant workers also have played a big part in this move. The Bill had tried to combine tough border security measures, tough workplace laws to manage illegal immigration along with a plan to legalize around 12 million illegal immigrants and turning them into a legalized work force. The Bill also had suggested hike in visa quota for alien workers and created a merit-based system for future immigrants.

All in all, foreign workers had taken it as a good sign when the Bill was initially introduced. But the public understanding of the issues were not clear, with conflicting report from Senators, business analysts and lobbyists running around. While critics screamed that alien workers stole US Jobs, supporters were equally vocal about lack of skilled workers in jobs leading to staggering loss. The result of this debate has left two major disgruntled parties – Mexico and India. Mexico has the largest number of illegal immigrants working in the US and India monopolizes more then 60% of the US work visas.

Anyway, it is unlikely the any kind of immigration reform will be discussed before US has a new President, which wont be till December 2008. The only good news is that five senators running for president has been in favor of the overhaul – Republican John McCain and Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden. So, the next President might just take up the issue of Immigration reform – in another few years. May be if the 2 million immigrants plus a few more thousand hopeful alien workers keep their fingers crossed?