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Why Eagle Act Immigration Bill is against True Diversity
Immigration Restrictionists and Progressive Diversity Advocates United in Opposition
The proposed Eagle Act, which exploits patriotism in its title, is a reboot of the failed Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants bill, sponsored by senators Kamala Harris and Mike Lee, that would have ended per-country quota caps for immigration. The Harris/Lee bill failed because it couldn’t be reconciled in the House with one week left until the lame duck session ended, because there were too many changes made to the bill. Also the House didn’t have enough time to agree upon a lot of the amendments. Like the previous bill, the Eagle Act is bi-partisan, co-sponsored by Democrat Zoe Lofgren, who represents the Silicon Valley and who also sponsored the first bill in the House, along with Utah Republican John Curtin. The Eagle Act was scheduled to be voted upon, on December 7th, but was delayed, and will most likely be voted on Tuesday the 13th.
The Eagle Act actually goes much further than the previous bill, and would not just end per-country caps, but also grants permanent legal status for both h1b visa holders, and their children and spouses. Basically it would turn the guest worker, h1b visa program, into permanent legal immigration. The existing immigration quotas were enacted as part of a compromise from the Hart-Celler act of 1965, that lifted restrictions on non-Western immigration. There are concerns that the Eagle Act will discriminate against immigrants from smaller nations, as well as against immigrants who are in non-tech fields. For instance the American Hospital Association has expressed concern about the bill, which is largely due to hospitals being dependent upon nurses from the Philippines, who would be disfavored for tech immigrants from India.
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There were recent protests in front of rep. Lofgren’s Silicon Valley office, by immigrants from various countries, including Iran and Taiwan, who were concerned that the bill is discriminatory against them, and the Iranian American community is especially outspoken against the bill. The bill would re-arrange the chairs with immigration, pitting different immigrant groups against one another, competing for slots. Rep Yvette Clarke, who represents Brooklyn NY, has put out a letter against the bill, concerned that the increasing immigration from China and India, would exclude Black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. Rep. Clarke has a more liberal record on immigration and had a major role in getting temporary protection status for Haitians. I applaud rep Clarke’s, pro-diversity stance, as an unlikely ally, and especially for going against the Biden Admin’s position in favor of the bill. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar opposed the initial Harris/Lee bill and will likely oppose this bill, because it could exclude immigrants from Muslim countries. Pablo Manríquez, who is a journalist and immigrant from Chile, has also been especially critical of the bill from a pro-immigrant standpoint, and refers to it as the Daily Caller bill (conservative site).
Overall opposition to the Eagle Act, includes the congressional Black Caucus, Iranian Americans, other immigrant advocacy groups, labor and tech worker interests, and immigration restrictionists. If the bill can unite immigration restrictionists and pro-immigrant advocacy groups, then it must be especially terrible, and also shows how identity politics can create unlikely allies. The bill’s proponents include Indian immigrant advocacy groups, Big Tech such as Amazon Policy and Microsoft Policy, Cato shills, establishment Republican and Democrat politicians, and American Imperialists. The conservative site, Daily Caller also supports the bill, and the Daily Caller’s co-founder, Neil Patel, is on the board of Immigration Voice, which is pushing the bill. Dan Crenshaw is another major conservative proponent of the bill, which is probably due to corporate donors, but also fits with his ideology of civic nationalism, based upon capitalism and meritocracy. However, the pro-business conservative, Heritage Foundation, opposes the bill.
There is an American Imperialist motive, behind the Eagle Act, to brain drain China. Rep. Lofgren has proposed anti-CCP amendments to an updated draft of the bill, in an attempt to win over more Republican votes. However, there are also concerns about the bill increasing the risk of Chinese espionage from conservative China Hawks. Chinese immigration actually declined in the latter part of the 2010s, in part due to the new cold war with China, but also due to greater economic opportunities in China, and many Chinese seeing America in decline. However, with China’s economic crisis and crackdowns on civil liberties, there might be increased interest in emigration, especially among the wealthy. Xi Jinping is likely very concerned about China’s ageing population and the brain drain, and I could see a scenario where China tries to prevent its citizens from leaving.
Some of the shilling from Indian Twitter accounts, on behalf of the Eagle Act, includes outrageous conspiracy theories that Iran, or even Pakistan, is behind the opposition. While Eagle Act proponents often appeal to civil rights, anti-discrimination, and woke arguments, some Eagle Act supporters have resorted to racist and xenophobic rhetoric against non-Indian immigrants, especially disrespecting Iranians, or going as far as implying that Iran’s regime is somehow playing a role in backing the opposition. This is especially absurd, considering that the Iranian diaspora has many religious minorities and political asylum seekers, who would be harmed by the Eagle Act, and that the Iranian immigrant accounts against the Act, also express support for the protests against Iran’s regime.
Immigration restrictionists often get accused of being reactionaries, seeking to return to a more homogenous America. Rather, whether the bill passes or not, represents two different versions of a post-American future, and two different versions of multiculturalism. The best case scenario for America’s inevitable multicultural future, is a decentralized diversity, of closeknit communities, enclavism, freedom of association, as well as political and economic decentralization. However, the bill passing forebodes a future America, that is more hyper-competitive, managerial, corporate-controlled, and where wealth and power are more centralized. For instance the direction of Canada’s immigration policies coinciding with technocracy. The bill is also bad for economic diversity, as it is extremely tech-centric, harms non-tech industries, and grants Big Tech a greater monopoly over immigration and jobs, thus more political and economic power. The opposition to the Eagle Act is an opportunity to emphasize the case for true diversity.
My position on immigration is not hard right, such as calling for mass deportations or a moratorium on legal immigration, but is overall fairly moderate. I have made the case that the right should support diversity based immigration, with the objective of both boosting the White population, while also diversifying the overall non-White population. While I am for scraping employment-based immigration, tied explicitly to corporate interests, I would support some fusion of diversity and merit based immigration. For instance points for merit, such as English proficiency, a civic test, or university degree, as well as either quotas or points for being from an underrepresented nation. The demographic makeup of a diversity-infused merit based immigration policy, might be a greater White Hispanic share from South America, African immigration balanced between Black Africans, North Africans, White South Africans, and various other minorities including Indians, an increase in immigration from Europe and the former Soviet bloc, and a growing Middle East share from more secular, cosmopolitan, demographics, from Iran, Turkey, the Levant, and Israel. Canada has a merit-based immigration policy, but is disastrous, as there are no per-country quotas, and the UK recently adopted that model under the Tories. Australia’s immigration model, which is decent, has sort of a hybrid between Canada’s model, and of what I propose, with a decent amount of Chinese and Indian, but also White immigration. Singapore, which is ironically heavily Chinese and Indian demographically, actually has a good quota system, which seeks to maintain demographic balance.
There is another proposed bill, that would grant amnesty for dreamers, DACA recipients, that is also bipartisan, sponsored by Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat turned independent, Kyrsten Sinema. This dreamer amnesty bill would also increase the number of employment visas, and if enacted would increase chain migration and further incentivize illegal immigration. However, I could actually support some version of a dreamer amnesty, if it were tied to either quotas mandating demographic balance, and scraping employment based immigration. If both the Eagle Act and dreamer amnesty were to pass simultaneously, it would create a scenario where immigration is totally dominated by China, India, Mexico, and Central America, but where Europeans and Africans, plus Middle Easterners, South Americans, and Asian nations besides China and India, are totally excluded from immigration. This brings up an interesting dichotomy about balancing BIPOC equity concerns with Asian meritocracy concerns, and where Whites fit into the narrative. It is true that under the current quota system, White immigrants, from say Ukraine, Ireland, Greece, Germany, South Africa, Australia, or Uruguay, have some advantages over Chinese and Indian immigrants, as far as having to wait less for a visa, and would lose that advantage with the Eagle Act. There are rightwingers who have a strong bias in favor of Whites, but also want to exclude African and Muslim immigration, as the Eagle Act would reduce White but also Black and Muslim immigration. However, there is likely a segment of rightwingers who would support the Eagle Act, on the grounds of blocking Muslim refugees from Afghanistan and Somalia, in favor of more economically successful Chinese and Indian immigrants. One supporter of the bill, implied that the opposition is an alliance between the woke and racist, which is a smear, but it is true that arguments can be made against the bill, from both woke equity and diversity standpoints, but also on the grounds of nationalism and opposing White demographic dispossession.
There have also been comparisons made about anti-Asian discrimination at Harvard, as to why conservatives should support the Eagle Act on the same principles as opposing affirmative action. It is an implication that opponents of the Eagle Act want to discriminate against Asian immigrants in the name of equity against meritocracy. Many conservatives do lap up these arguments of meritocracy based on principle. While it is true that the Eagle Act has some similarities to the anti-affirmative action cause, Whites might be better off lobbing for equitable shares of representation rather than meritocracy, which is applicable to both affirmative action and immigration. There is hypocrisy by advocates of tech immigration about meritocracy in regards to ethnic and caste nepotism in Silicon Valley, but even if meritocracy is a good ideal in principle, in practice it can mean running a nation like a corporation, and can be at odds with identity, rootedness, and community.
Proponents of the Eagle Act, are also trying to make a moral case that Indians facing a much longer wait for visas, is discriminatory, with personal interest stories. Indians are already vastly overrepresented among recent immigrants, receiving about 70% of h1bs and about a third of all new green cards, yet still claim discrimination based on country of origin. The reality is that the sheer numbers of people who want to immigrate globally, far outpaces the amount of immigration that the US can accommodate, and that immigrating is a privilege and not a right. Mexicans are also impacted by the backlog, specifically for family reunification, but the bill is primarily crafted for Indian tech immigration.
The bill is overall terrible for workers’ rights, and with the surge in tech layoffs, it could not be better timing. Tech layoffs are just the tip of the iceberg, and could actually be much worse than the dot com crash. It is also unique that it is a white collar rather than a blue collar recession. Part of the reason for the recent push for the Eagle Act, is that laid off h1b visa holders may face deportation, and the bill would grant them permanent status. However, the idea of a labor shortage is nonsense, because unemployment stats do not count those who have dropped out of the labor force, and most of the new jobs created are in the service sector, not tech.
The bill’s proponents are rushing the vote, because the bill has been under the radar, and the longer it gets delayed, the more attention it gets, and momentum grows against it. Obviously the vote won’t be unanimous along party lines, with Rep. Lofgren very concerned that both the Hispanic and Black caucuses within the Democratic Congress will oppose the bill. Though Mike Lee is aggressively pushing the bill among Republicans in the Senate, to try to fast track the vote. Kevin McCarthy voted yes on the original version of the bill, but he is now under a lot of pressure from the nationalist wing of the GOP, with the House Speaker position contested. As things stand now, it looks less likely to pass the House and Senate, but if it does pass, it will be signed into law by president Biden.
If the bill is enacted, immigrants from smaller nations that are excluded, will start to form their own backlogs. For instance there are 140,000 total green cards for employment available each fiscal year, and there are about 700,000 to 1 Million Indians in the backlog. So if the per-country caps are removed, those first in the backlog would be prioritized at the expense of others. It would likely take at least a decade for the current backlog of Indians in que to clear, making it practically impossible for new legal immigrants, including future Indian immigrants, to get visas. While the bill does not officially increase overall legal immigrant numbers, if enacted, expect a further push to increase legal immigration to something like 2 or even 3 million legal immigrants per year, and there are likely ulterior motives to create that scenario. Even if the Eagle Act fails, a bill to increase overall legal immigration might actually have a better chance at passing, because the opposition would primarily be from immigration restrictionists, rather than the strong pro-diversity argument against the Eagle Act. The Eagle Act would also exacerbate illegal immigration, as it becomes harder to immigrate legally. Immigration bills are major paradigm shifts, that often go under the radar, and the Eagle Act would have cataclysmic impacts on politics, economics, and demographics.
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