US House passes green-card change championed by widow of Kansas hate-crime victim

Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Political News

"People are finally understanding that no matter what else is wrong with our immigration system, we can all agree that discrimination should never be a basis for deciding who is given access to permanent residency in the United States," said Aman Kapoor, the co-founder and president of Immigration Voice, the main group that has been lobbying for the legislation.

Kapoor said the legislation will allow highly-skilled immigrants to start their own companies once they obtain green cards, which will be an economic benefit to American workers.

However, the bill still faces opposition from groups such as the American Hospital Association, which says removing the per-country limit will create backlogs for other immigrant groups, making it difficult for hospitals to hire nurses from the Philippines and other countries.

Groups looking to limit immigration, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, have also been vocal in their opposition to the bill.

The legislation was originally sponsored by Yoder, a Republican, during the previous Congress. Dumala had been a fixture on the campaign trail as he faced a difficult reelection battle.

The bill never came up for a vote on the full House floor during that time and Yoder's efforts to include the legislation as part of a border wall deal fell short before his time in Congress ended.

But his Democratic successor, Rep. Sharice Davids, joined on as a co-sponsor when the measure was re-introduced this year.


The Johnson County Democrat noted her predecessor's work on the issue and touted the economic benefits of fixing the green-card process for high-skilled tech workers from India and other countries.

"Kansas businesses depend on high-skilled workers to be competitive and to contribute to the local economy. This bipartisan bill will allow our businesses to focus on retaining these workers, while also reducing the backlogs for people facing the longest waiting times," Davids said in a statement.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate. Davids said she hopes House passage spurs work on more comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

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