Immigration Bill Passes Senate; House Judiciary ActsJuly 10, 2013
On June 27, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744) by a margin of 68-32, with 14 Republicans crossing the aisle to join all of their Democratic (52) and Independent (2) colleagues in a vote to pass the measure. The bill, as passed, includes a number of provisions that NSBA supported including increased H-1B and STEM visas, a new W visa program for business and agricultural temporary workers and a new immigrant entrepreneur visa (or INVEST visa). The bill also would mandate the use of E-Verify, which NSBA opposes. The bill would create a Small Business and Employee Advocate at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with the authority to issue assistance orders to resolve bureaucratic errors.
The attention now shifts to the House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee has reported out four immigration-related bills. They are:
- The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (H.R. 2278), also known as the SAFE Act, which would strengthen interior immigration enforcement, allow states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws and increase border security;
- The Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 1773) which would create a simplified and expanded agricultural guest worker program;
- The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772) which would make the use of E-Verify mandatory for new hires and impose severe employer penalties; and
- The Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131) which would allocate green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, increase H-1B visas, repeal the employment-based per-country cap, establish a new entrepreneur visa program and strengthen the investor visa program.
The House is not expected to move a comprehensive immigration package.
NSBA opposes mandatory E-Verify and supports increased visas for temporary business and agricultural workers, for graduates with degrees in STEM fields, for investor and entrepreneurs and for highly-skilled workers.
To read the Judiciary Committee summary of the SAFE Act, click here.
To read the Judiciary Committee summary of the Agricultural Guestworker Act, click here.
To read the Judiciary Committee summary of the Legal Workforce Act, click here.
To read the Judiciary Committee summary of the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act, click here.