A Journey of a Thousand Miles . . .
Congress has not approved a cut in legal immigration since 1924. But on Tuesday, the House immigration subcommittee voted to kill the visa lottery, an egregious program that each year admits 50,000 people at random, without regard to their skills, connections to the United States, or humanitarian need. (I wrote about the lottery here.) According to the alert folks at Numbers USA, the vote was 5-3, with several members involved in other business. Two of the votes to kill the lottery would not have happened before this year and appear to have been responses to grassroots conservative outrage over immigration: Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) was mediocre on the issue (see her and others’ grades here), but has been getting an earful, most recently as chairman of the GOP platform subcommittee in New York that dealt with immigration issues, where her assignment was to railroad through a plank supporting the White House amnesty proposal; and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who recently faced a strong primary challenge because of his co-sponsorship of John McCain’s amnesty bill.
The next step is a vote of the full Judiciary Committee next week. This would seem to be something that high-immigration supporters could back, since the lottery lacks both a policy rationale and interest-group support. But the slippery-slope people will argue that any concession to the critics of mass immigration will cause the whole edifice to collapse (I wish!).