The appeal by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate pass a bill that will phase out per-country limits on green cards faces intense opposition as the GOP sticks to its argument the bill will displace U.S. workers on a massive scale.

Famous for his pro-immigrant and anti-racist views, Cook said immigrants make the United States stronger the economy more dynamic.

"Immigrants make this country stronger and our economy more dynamic. As a first step toward needed comprehensive reform, I urge the Senate to move quickly to pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act," tweeted Cook. "The contributions of these workers are critical to America’s future."

Apple has a deep interest in making immigration easier since a fair number of its employees are immigrants, with many of them still awaiting their green cards that will allow them to permanently immigrate to the U.S. Cook had once said Apple also has employees on visas that are caught in the green card backlogs. A large portion of immigrants stuck in the backlog are skilled immigrants from India and China.

“We have over 300 folks here on DACA, and we have several people that are on H-1Bs [visas] that might be deep in the green-card backlog,” said Cook in a speech last summer.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 or H.R. 1044 seeks to "amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes."

The bill passed the House in September by a vote of 365-65 but isn't scheduled for a vote in the Senate. Cook's appeal came after Senate Republicans thwarted a move by Democrats to fast track the Senate version of H.R. 1044.

The Senate version (S.2603 or the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants) was brought up for discussion on Wednesday but failed to pass in a unanimous consent vote due to objections by Republican senators. One of these Republicans, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), blocked S.2603 on the grounds S.2603 is anything but fair to U.S. workers since it strengthens and perpetuates a system actively displacing them.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new Apple TV+ service which will include original shows including "Snoopy in Space Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new Apple TV+ service which will include original shows including "Snoopy in Space" Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JUSTIN SULLIVAN

The unanimous consent request would have allowed the bill's sponsors led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to bypass the committee process, hearings, amendments and public debate.

S.2603 will greatly change the current immigration system by eliminating a per-country cap that makes it harder to emigrate from a bigger country compared to a smaller country. It aims to equalize wait times across countries by changing the system to first-come first-served.

“The employment-based visa system is supposed to enable American businesses to bring the best and the brightest to this country,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who sponsored the bill.

“Yet under the per-country caps, a factor that has nothing to do with a person’s skills or merit distorts the recruitment process. This weakens the merits-based portion of our immigration system.”