Saturday, April 20, 2013

Immigration open thread

Does anyone have thoughts on the new proposal, particularly the guestworker side?

I haven't gotten a chance to look closely at it. The W visa (for low skill workers) is interesting. Part of it is nice because it's a ham-fisted attempt at not making distinctions between different types of guestworkers the way the current high skill programs do. But part of it is frustrating because I just think "how about instead of H-1B, H-2B, L-1, W, etc. etc. we just have a single (we can call it A-1 for you steak fans) guestworker visa that doesn't distinguish between workers?".

The answer to that question, of course, is that some people still want to treat different workers differently.

From what I do know about the W visa it's basically like the high skill visas in the bill, but without any of the perks...

...because it would be totally unconscionable to treat low skill workers with the same dignity and benefits as high skill workers, right?!?

On top of that, it seems like a lot of the old problems aren't fixed, and some are even made worse by some kind of STEM exception that I need to learn more about (and is apparently a little vague in its own right).

We've been here before - it's true of any overarching reform. Some things are better, some things are worse. That's how I felt about health reform too. My assessment with health reform was "this is a step in the right direction that we can work with and more is better than is worse". I'm still trying to figure out if that's my assessment of the immigration reform options.

Then again, given yesterday's events it may unfortunately be a moot point.

My EPI briefing paper on high skill guestworkers should come out next week. There was a slight delay for editorial reasons.

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