House Democrats are considering a more piecemeal approach to passing immigration reform rather then trying to sell the bigger package that has been put forth by President Biden. It may be easier to pass smaller individual bills one at a time that would prioritize more popular measures like helping refugees, agriculture workers and people brought to the U.S. illegally as children first. However, this piecemeal approach may leave no leverage to push through less popular but still important measures like increasing immigration for skilled workers. Increases in visas for highly skilled foreign workers through H1-B visas could fall drastically this year if Democrats decide to overhaul immigration through a series of small bills instead of the sweeping one put forward by President Joe Biden.
The sweeping immigration bill Democrats proposed at Biden’s behest does not raise the annual cap on temporary worker visas. Instead, it expands the number of employment-based green cards available, a move that advocates say will take pressure off the guest worker programs like the H-1B visa. Any increase in H-1B visas looks like a tough sell in the current Congress especially if presented as a stand-alone bill, with potential opposition from labor unions on the left, versus a more hawkish stance on immigration amongst republicans and a pandemic driven poor economy that makes bringing in workers from overseas seem unnecessary to voters.