Democrats have voiced similar concerns. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., wrote to her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus earlier this month to raise concerns that would-be immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean would be squeezed out if country-based visa caps were eliminated without an increase in the number of visas available overall.
“I cannot support efforts that would perpetuate the current inequities in our immigration system. I believe we can do better,” Clarke wrote.
Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin, who also chairs the Judiciary Committee that oversees immigration bills, has introduced another version that would eliminate the per-country caps while increasing the number of total green cards available. Durbin’s bill would do this by no longer counting dependents, such as visa applicants’ minor children, against the total cap.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association, which advocates for pro-immigrant policies, also opposes the bill. The organization said while it supports ending the per-country cap, the EAGLE Act “does not strike the right balance of eliminating per-country limitations without adversely impacting others.”
In a brief interview Thursday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was previously on a work visa, blamed opposition to the legislation on a “misunderstanding that somehow this is negative for certain communities” and said there is “still conversation about getting it to the floor.”