WASHINGTON—Despite a historic border crisis growing worse thanks to the Biden administration’s open-borders policies, the lame-duck Congress is considering new immigration legislation that would also undermine America’s legal immigration system and hurt U.S. national security. In addition to the poorly conceived Tillis-Sinema mass amnesty making its way through the Senate, the House of Representatives is considering the “EAGLE Act,” a bill that would eliminate long-standing caps on the number of individuals who can receive visas every year to legally enter the United States.
Removing these caps, combined with the ill-conceived transition period and special “adjustments” section, would upend America’s legal immigration system, benefit China, and invite an immediate, massive influx of new applicants to apply for visas and overwhelm an already backlogged process.
Joseph Edlow, former acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and a Heritage Foundation visiting fellow, released the following statement Thursday in response to the House’s push for this ill-advised policy:
“We need to reduce illegal immigration and get the border under control, but Congress also needs to make sure that our legal immigration system protects and advances American interests. The EAGLE Act does just the opposite.
“This bill will activate the federal bureaucracy to disproportionately favor Chinese nationals filing visa applications, including members of the Chinese Communist Party, and make it easier for them to gain access to permanent residence in the United States. We know the CCP is adept at taking advantage of the U.S. immigration system to install their own people in sensitive positions in the U.S., and the EAGLE Act will only streamline the process for them. This act undermines U.S. national interests—all at the invitation of our very own government, and at the behest of Big Tech, which wants cheaper Chinese and Indian labor. It’s a gift to the Chinese Communist Party, but devastating for our legal immigration system.
“This Big-Tech-backed bill will further overwhelm our legal immigration system at a time when the crisis at the southern border has devastated not just the border security apparatus, but had a massive secondary impact on our legal immigration system, as well. Under Joe Biden, more than 5 million people have illegally entered our country or been improperly released into the interior. Now is not the time to be making major changes to our legal immigration system. Congress needs to get serious about ending the Biden border crisis, securing the border, and reducing illegal immigration. Only then can we turn to legal immigration reforms—and this should not be one of them.”
BACKGROUND: Country caps have long existed to ensure that all countries have equal access to visa applications in particular categories, and that large nations like China can’t game the system and hoard all the applications in a category. This bill would remove those caps in a manner that would ensure that anyone, even those in the U.S. on most temporary visas, could file for a permanent green card granting permission to reside and work in the U.S. if they have an underlying visa petition that has been approved for at least two years. Once that green card is issued, the clock would start for that individual’s naturalization. Once they are naturalized, they can begin sponsoring family members to come to America—in other words, the EAGLE Act is a gateway to more chain migration.