Comprehensive Immigration Bill Helps H-1Bs, But Hurts All Employers

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill a Mixed Bag

Bill Helps H-1Bs, But Hurts All Employers

Washington, D.C., December 15, 2009—The Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained an early outline of the Comprehensive Immigration Bill introduced in Congress on Tuesday by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).  It is a mix of good and bad provisions according to CEI Immigration Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh.

“Easing immigration to the U.S. would be an enormous benefit to our economy,” said Nowrasteh. “Immigrants, especially the highly skilled, create jobs and economic opportunities for Americans. 

“This bill takes a small step in the right direction by increasing the number of H-1B and other work visas, but it has a few major flaws,” said Nowrasteh.  “It takes a giant step backwards by mandating an E-Verify system for all employees.  The goal of government policy during a recession should be to increase economic growth and deregulate labor markets, but E-Verify will do the opposite.”

CEI labor policy expert Ivan Osorio was also critical of the E-Verify scheme.  “Expediting legal entry to those who wish to come to the United States to work and invest is laudable and necessary,” said Osorio. “Policy makers should remain focused on that goal. Introducing burdensome new labor regulations, such as a federal employment verification system, would undermine the goal of making America’s labor market the world’s most dynamic.”

Under the current H-1B visa system for highly skilled foreigner workers, the low cap of 85,000 workers per year is inadequate to supply American technology firms with the talent they need to expand.  This bill increases the cap slightly while saddling employers with more paperwork and regulations.