GOP Bans Immigration Changes in New Trade Agreement

paul ryanRepublican leaders in the House of Representatives are working to prevent changes to immigration policy in the President’s upcoming trade legislation.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a letter to Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that he plans to include immigration language in one of the four trade provisions scheduled for a Friday vote. Ryan said the provision would “ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. immigration laws.”

King had written to Ryan previously, addressing his worries that opening trade policy would allow foreign workers access to expanded visas. Ryan’s letter was intended to alleviate concerns of visa expansions. In it, Ryan stated that he agreed with King’s worry.

The House is scheduled to vote on the four trade provisions as early as Friday, including a “Fast Track” trade bill that the president is eager to sign into law. The legislation would provide Obama with expedited authority to secure international trade pacts, including a deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations.

In addition to the “Fast Track” and customs bills, the House will vote on a measure to provide aid to workers displaced by new trade deals as well as a bill that would extend trade preferences to sub-Saharan nations in Africa.