Sen. Grassley (R-IA) has released his “hold” on HR 3012. HR 3012 has many components to it. It notably calls for an elimination of “per-country” immigrant visa (Green card) caps, which historically have limited the amount of employment-based green cards from any one country to seven percent of the total immigrant visa total. These per-country caps have created a longer processing time for those from high visa-demand countries such as India, China, and to some extent, the Philippines. These per-country caps have been based not on the skill-level of the immigrant, but on the immigrant's country of birth. It seems unlikely that such a policy would ever be passed today. Congress is right to get rid of them.
That having been said, HR 3012 comes with some warts, mainly as a result of a necessary deal with Sen. Grassley (R-IA), who passionately believes that employment-based immigration is bad for America. Sen. Grassley's amendment gives broad, "big-government" power, to the Department of Labor. The DOL will be allowed to delay and deny Labor Condition Applications for the vaguest of reasons. Sen. Grassley's expansion of government oversight is intellectually inconsistent for a Senator who just last week found expansions of government oversight by the Food and Drug Adminsitration to be "shocking".
With the Senate's summer recess drawing near, whether HR 3012 moves forward is an open question, although still more likely to happen than not. There are rumors that several other Senators are concerned with Sen. Grassley's amendment and may delay or deny the bill's passage. This would be a shame because the bill's main purpose, elimination of per-country caps, is an admirable one.