Last week, the House passed H.R. 1044, the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” by a wide, bipartisan vote. This bill fixes a longstanding issue that contributes to lengthy backlogs in the employment-based green card system, which negatively impacts our nation’s economy.
I know that immigration reform is an important issue for many of you and I am focused on finding common sense solutions to fix our broken immigration system. H.R. 1044 is one of those solutions. This bill places employment-based immigrants on an even playing field by eliminating the 7 percent per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas. Employers in high-skilled industries like medicine and engineering depend on this program when they cannot find Americans to fill their jobs. Many of these jobs are critical to our national defense and economic prosperity.
We are facing a historic moment for the US economy. For the first time in two decades, the number of job vacancies each month has been higher than the number of people looking for work. Just this May, the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent and the job openings rate was 4.6 percent. While this is exciting for job seekers, I want to make sure that business owners in our country can support their businesses and sustain their continued growth.
Let me be clear, this legislation does not increase the number of immigrants allowed into our country. It simply makes the system more efficient. Under the old system, many high-skilled immigrants from large countries had to wait decades longer than applicants from other parts of the world, even though they had a skillset for which our nation had a more pressing need.
We have employment shortages in our district that cause frustration, prevent growth, and negatively impact Texas families. This legislation removes arbitrary caps on what country an applicant is from and focuses more on accepting the brightest and most skilled immigrants to keep our economy booming. As you may know, the rapid growth in north Texas has led to a shortage of over 100 physicians and other high-skilled workers. This legislation addresses this issue.
I am also an advocate for the H-2B guest worker program. This visa program provides temporary visas for foreign workers in seasonal, non-agriculture jobs. Many businesses in the 12th District have benefited from this visa program and I know many more will benefit from H.R. 1044.
H.R. 1044 is a common-sense bill that is good for our district and I will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform that is good for Texas.
Member of Congress