Coming back from the Memorial Day holiday, the House of Representatives will be preparing its own response to the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a proposed bill in the Senate. Shortly before the holiday, on May 21 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the immigration reform proposal 13-5, as amended on the floor. The Committee reached a key compromise related to H-1B specialty occupation workers. The compromise increased the number of H-1B specialty occupation workers from 65,000 to a range of 110,000-180,000. However, filing fees for H-1B petitions would increase. New employees hired on an H1-B visa could not be paid less than their U.S. counterparts and must be paid higher than Level 1 wages. Lastly, outsourcing through companies that employ H-1B employees would be prohibited. The upshot of all of this, for many, is that the large amount of foreign graduates with U.S. science, technology, engineering, or math degrees (STEM-degrees) will be treated more favorably than those with other degrees, allowing them to apply directly for legal permanent residency and a green card.
Military DREAMers also won a victory in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the Committee passed Senator Blumenthal’s amendment 12, which would allow DREAMers to serve in the military and put those who serve on the path to citizenship.
This news is especially welcome on Memorial Day, as the country remembers those who served. As CBS News reported, in March of 2003, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez was one of the first fatalities in the Iraq war. CBS also noted that approximately 38,000 Americans in uniform are not American citizens – and that at least 10 men who have been killed in Iraq were not U.S. citizens. While that may be surprising to many, it’s nothing new. As America’s Voice Online noted, “It’s been like that in every war the United States has fought, from Valley Forge to Vietnam.”
Coming back from the Memorial Day break, Representative Goodlatte (R-VA), Chair of the House’s Judiciary Committee, will continue to hold hearings on House responses to the Senate-led immigration reform movement. One of the House’s most noted addition is The Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773, the full text of which can be found here: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?bc=11536|44245.