House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) told McClatchy News he dropped support for a Homeland Security spending bill amendment that negates Administration policy strengthening the credible fear standard for asylum seekers. Yoder, however, insists on keeping his amendment to lift the per-country caps for employment-based immigrants.
During a late July markup of the Homeland Security spending bill, the Appropriations Committee passed several amendments that would undermine the Trump Administration's immigration enforcement efforts and increase foreign-worker competition for American workers. One amendment sponsored by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) would block funding for implementing a ruling by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that closes Obama Administration asylum loopholes.
Earlier in the year, AG Sessions overturned Obama policy by clarifying that asylum law does not allow individuals to claim credible fear for instances of gang violence or domestic abuse perpetrated by non-governmental actors. He ruled that credible fear claims should only be approved when the alien has a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Price’s amendment prohibits DHS from spending funds to implement the guidance embodying Sessions’ ruling.
After the markup, Yoder faced considerable pressure to drop the amendment from the Trump Administration and constituents back home. Assuming the McClatchy report is accurate, Yoder is now willing to remove the Price amendment from the Homeland Security spending bill.
Yoder told McClatchy that he will not remove an amendment he sponsored that includes language from H.R. 392, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. The bill, also sponsored by Yoder, would eliminate per-country caps for employment-based green cards and raise per-country caps for family-based green cards. Although the measure would not directly raise overall immigration numbers, it secures the vast majority of green cards for people from countries that dominate the H-1B visa program, i.e., India and China. H-1B opponents claim the measure would create more permanent competition for American STEM workers and eventualy pressure Congress to raise the overall H-1B visa cap so that workers from other countries can get green cards.
Yoder said he will continue to push for a separate vote on H.R. 392, but it’s most likely to become law under the Homeland Security spending bill.
Read more in McClatchy News.
Updated: Thu, Sep 20th 2018 @ 1:20pm EDT