E-Verify will be strengthened, immigration to monitor those who fail it.
American Bazaar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC: The Senate Judiciary Committee passed by a comfortable margin, 13-8, the immigration reform bill, which will now be taken up on the Senate floor, and with a group of bipartisan legislators in the House, dubbed the ‘Gang of Eight’, saying they would introduce their version of the bill after Memorial Day weekend, heady progress is being rapidly made, faster than expected.
The key feature of the bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which dealt with 300 amendments and has to a large extent kept the original version submitted by the bipartisan of Gang of Eight in the Senate – is a major victory for legal immigration and the tech sector. Senators agreed to triple the existing number of H1B visas for engineering and software technology sectors, which would effectively bring it to 195,000 a year, with the current level being capped at 65,000 a year.
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However, challenges remain as the Senate and House will later reconcile the present proposals passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, so the real battle has begun just now.
Some of the other important features of the bill pertinent to legal immigrants is modifying the E-Verify system to make it compulsory for employers to check the status of employees before hiring them, and in case an e-verify fails, then the immigration authorities will get a weekly report on that individual. This is being done to curb future illegal immigration.
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One of the key demands, especially from the Republicans was on border security, and many measures are going to be undertaken to strengthen that, as well as to clearly determine who is going in and out of the country, with at present agreement to monitor it at 10 of the largest airports, and the system to be in place within two years of the bill passing. All this may however be expanded once the final version of the bill – if it happens – comes by.
Some of the amendments that were not included in the version passed by the Committee was the Democrats’ demand to have gay couples the same rights to sponsor their legal partners for permanent residency, a measure which was removed after Republicans made it clear that it would be a deal-breaker. Some of the GOP demands that fell through included using a system to track visas using biometric data at border crossing points, and using aerial drones along the southern border.
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