ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando immigration lawyer supports Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s decision to block a bill, which would remove a limitation on how many highly skilled immigrants can obtain green cards from any one country. 

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“It doesn’t work for Florida. It doesn’t work for anyone,” attorney Carlos Colombo said.

Every year in the U.S., about 140,000 employment-based U.S. legal resident cards, or green cards, are given to immigrants.

For now, a cap prevents any one country from getting more than 7 percent of that total.

The limitation created a backlog of around a million people in three of five employment-based green card categories.

Nationals from India and China, which are two of the world's most populous countries, can wait up to 17 years before they get their green card.

Supporters of the bill, who recently protested Scott’s move to block S. 386, or Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, said it would open a new opportunity by removing that cap.

Colombo, however, said that is not necessarily a win for Florida.

 “It alleviates some of the backlog for Indian and Chinese nationals, but it will not do away with the severe backlog,” he said.

He said it could also mean less space for highly skilled Latin American and European immigrants.   

“It will take years and years before they can actually come to the U.S., come to Florida, where they’ve had a huge positive impact on our economy,” Colombo said. “To attract individuals from different nationalities and in different sectors, we should have a bill that increases the numbers. We also cut the number of H-1B Visas in years past and we saw the negative effects of doing that.”

He said many of those people work in industries vital to the Sunshine State's economy such as tourism, hospitality, medical and even the space industry.

“Let’s not, as immigrant advocates or immigrants ourselves, advocate something that would hurt other immigrants,” Colombo said.

Scott, a former Florida governor, said in a statement to Spectrum News 13 that he is concerned about the impact on Latin American immigrants and also the impact it could have on American workers.

He said he will continue to work with Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on this bill in order to address the concerns he has heard from Floridians.

It is worth noting that the bill does have bipartisan support, including vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

The Congressional Research Service found the backlog in three of five employment-based green card categories (EB-1 – EB-3) would double by FY 2030 whether the bill passes or not.