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In case you didn’t already think that the U.S. government has become a dysfunctional mess, the immigration realist group NumbersUSA has just highlighted a recent, thoroughly depressing example. It’s the decision of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to turn its version of a bill to boost American technological competitiveness (especially versus China) into a device to advance its Open Borders-friendly immigration agenda ever further – and at the expense in particular of native-born tech workers and tech worker hopefuls.

Not that the story of this competitiveness effort wasn’t a prime example of dysfunction already. As I’ve previously pointed out, both the House bill and its Senate counterpart were originally introduced in mid-2020, and these efforts still haven’t become law – even though concerns about China catching up to the United States technologically, and threatening both American national security and prosperity even more sharply, remain as strong and widespread as ever.

And not that the Democrats are solely responsible: As I’ve also noted, Senate Republicans have strongly supported provisions in their version of the legislation that would both greatly weaken a president’s authority to impose tariffs (including on China to offset the economic damage to U.S. industry from its predatory trade and broader economic practices), and reduce various existing tradei barriers to many imports (including from China).

But the immigration provisions of the House version could be just as damaging, and deserve at least as much attention. As explained by NumbersUSA analyst Lisa Irving, this legislation “allows for an unlimited number of green cards for citizens of foreign countries seeking permanent U.S. residency who hold a U.S. doctorate degree, or its equivalent from a foreign institution, in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering,and Math fields].”

Adds Irving, “This provision would result in further limiting the job prospects and resources for highly qualified Americans in tech fields.” 

To add insult to injury, as Irving reminds, the measure is based on phony and thoroughly debunked claims, mainly propagated by the U.S. technology industry, that it’s facing a crippling labor and talent shortage. In fact, the tech sector’s prime objective is curbing wage and other compensation gains by opening the flood gates ever wider to foreign-born technologists willing to accept much lower pay.   

The best outcome for the cause of American competitiveness — and for its potential to benefit the existing American population economically — would be for the Congressional conference committee assigned with devising a final compromise version that President Biden can sign into law to strip the Senate version of its trade sections, and the House version of these immigration sections

But don’t expect any progress any time soon. Reuters reports that the committee will hold its first meeting next week – and will contain more than 100 House and Senate lawmakers. In other words, more than 100 cooks for this broth.

As a result, even though China continues massively subsidizing its own tech sector, and even though other countries have already responded with their own incentives aimed at attracting and maintaining their capabilities in semiconductors and other industries, “Congressional aides said it could still take months before a final agreement is reached.” In the ultimate sad commentary on American political dysfunction, given the glaring flaws of both bills, that could be a good thing.