Immigration Bill Dead—For Now (And Why I’m Glad)

This post, written by Melissa McEwan, originally appeared on Shakesville

The New York Times reports that the bill is dead after a cloture vote to end debate failed: "After a day of tension and fruitless maneuvering, senators rejected a Democratic call to move toward a final vote on the compromise legislation after Republicans complained that they had not been given enough opportunity to reshape the sprawling bill."

And by "reshape," they apparently mean "tack on a bunch of conservative amendments."
A GOP Aide, who's one of my sources in the Senate, gave me the rundown on what happened to the Senate bill today. After the 2nd cloture vote failure at noon on Thursday, Harry Reid could not get unanimous consent to call up amendments to the bill because Jim DeMint refused to give his consent.
...While DeMint was gumming up the works, the opponents of the bill, including most prominently Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, and Tom Coburn, huddled and came up with a list of conservative amendments they wanted considered.
...Eventually, after the process was tied up all afternoon and failed a third cloture vote, Harry Reid yanked the bill even though the opponents of the bill said they were willing to stop gumming up the process as long as all the amendments they wanted were voted on today.
Obstructionist wankers. That's the perfect example of a Republican compromise: Do everything the way we want, or we won't play.

Thing is, while that's totally annoying from a philosophical standpoint, as regards the actual policy, I don't really give a shit, because it's a bad bill.

I'm deeply unhappy with the decision to leap-frog employment skills ahead of family relationships, with regard to the attributes given preference in legal immigration decisions. Of course we need skilled workers, but we also need to continue our long and hugely successful focus on immigrant families, which has made America an immigration success story in a way many other countries, who--surprise--favor employment skills, are not.

Historically, our basic premise has been that it's more valuable to the country in the long run to have (for example) one Chinese engineer and her parents than three Chinese engineers. This practice has worked because it provides greater stability and support to each individual skilled worker, which makes each individual skilled worker that much more productive and successful, and greater stability and support to immigrant communities, which make each immigrant community that much more productive and successful. And it also has the added bonus of decreasing the number of immigrants who come to work, make lots of money, and then return to their countries of birth, taking their resources with them.

There are both practical and compassionate reasons to have favored this practice throughout our history, and I'm truly disappointed we're abandoning it in favor of an immigration policy that doesn't value people as much as their skills, and doesn't consider what it means, practically or compassionately, to isolate desired immigrants from their families.

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