The Senate immigration-reform bill doesn't do the job on easing restrictions for admitting highly-skilled workers, says Rosario Marin, U.S. treasurer under former President George W. Bush.
"The key issue is improving mechanisms for legal immigration by people who will contribute to the nation's prosperity," Marin writes in The Wall Street Journal
. "Unfortunately, the compromise bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee . . . contains provisions that would turn away some of the most highly educated people. Barring them threatens our future economic growth."
The current bill, she says, puts "arbitrary limits and costly regulations on the number of highly skilled immigrants that American businesses can hire through the H-1B and L-1 visa programs."
"For instance," she notes, "an H-1B visa application now costs $2,000. Under the new law, it would jump to between $4,000 and $10,000."
A new labor-certification fee of $1,000 also would be imposed for green cards.
"That's on top of the legal fees of some $1,000-$3,000 already associated with the processes of keeping talented people in the United States," Marin states.
"Supporters say these provisions protect American workers. The truth is that if these restrictions become law, there will be a cascade of unintended economic consequences, and the American consumer would be hit the hardest," she adds.
The issue may be one of economics, but it's also personal for Marin. She was born in Mexico, and immigrated to the United States at age 14 when her father obtained a work visa. That visa, she writes, enabled her to live "the American dream" and to become the only U.S. treasurer born outside the United States.
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