Sixteen days ago, just before 6 pm, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah passed H.R. 1044/S. 386 via unanimous consent in an almost empty Senate chamber. The next step was for the bill to be returned to the House to approve the Senate amendments. Then it would be off to POTUS for signature. At least that was the plan. Things were looking mighty grim for U.S. tech workers’ livelihoods and pretty good for Big Tech and Indian body shop interests.
That was then.
Today, I can categorically state that H.R. 1044 is dead in the water. It will not be signed into law by being sent to the President’s desk nor will it be placed in an omnibus or other appropriations bill. It appears the amendments attached to it were too big a pill to swallow for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and her immigration attorney pals, as well as Congresswoman Judy Chu and her Chinese Communist Party interests. So, the bill will languish until the 116th Congress ends in a few short days.
In 1815, following his victory at the battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington said, “They came on in the same old way, and we defeated them in the same old way.” The defeat of H.R. 1044 is reminiscent of the 2018 attempt to pass H.R. 392/S. 281, another high-skilled immigrants act. Tech workers got active for the first time. As a result, several organizations were successful in stopping H.R. 392 in the House.
Much like 2018, tech workers and other professionals from across the country rallied to defeat H.R. 1044 in early 2019.
However, in July of that year, Rep. Lofgren realized that H.R. 1044 would not survive a proper floor debate and worked with House leadership to “suspend the rules” on the vote. Suspension of the rules is a procedure generally used to quickly pass “noncontroversial” bills in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In this way, H.R. 1044 was rammed through the House and, later, through the Senate with Sen. Lee’s unanimous consent ploy. And yet, despite all this, it did not pass! Instead, this bill will serve as a cautionary tale to those legislators who endeavor to place the interests of Big Tech and foreign actors above those of working Americans.
I think it’s only appropriate and fitting for all those who fight so hard against these job-killing bills to gloat a bit and cheer this victory. It’s important to celebrate the milestones.
But rest assured; we haven’t seen the last of these “fairness for high-skilled immigrants” acts. In 2021, we must be prepared to meet them head on and commit to employing evermore effective strategies to stop them.
In closing, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!