Hello everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to this week's edition of immigration matters.
Congress is back in session and immigration issues are on the agenda. There are approximately 60 days left in the 106th Congress. The 107th Congress will open in January 2001 with dozens of new members, perhaps a change in control, and a new president. Given all of these unknowns, it is now essential that advocates of immigration make their voices heard in this Congress, supporting the many efforts for a more sensible and human immigration policy.
Here are some of the bills that we are watching at the Law Offices of Cyrus Mehta:
On the front burner are the H-1B bills. As you know, there are a number of competing proposals to raise the cap on H-1B visas for this and the coming years. By raising the cap on H-1B, Congress can keep America growing. The cap is an unnatural cap on America’s growth stifling U.S. employers’ ability to overcome the shortage of highly educated professional workers. H-1B workers are part of the solution to this shortage.
The Senate is ready to vote on S. 2045, a bill to increase the cap that provides a short-term, balanced solution to the shortage while funding the education and training of U.S. workers. We strongly support this bill. S. 2045 has been placed on the Senate’s calendar and should be considered by the Senate before it recesses again at Memorial Day. Please contact your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to keep American growing through this bill.
The House is a more complicated matter. There are two competing bills. One bill has the bipartisan support of sixty members, the other has the support of three influential Republicans. H.R. 3983 introduced by Reps. Dreier and Lofgren, and endorsed by a bipartisan coalition of 58 other members of Congress has languished in the Immigration Subcommittee headed by immigration foe, Rep. Lamar Smith, who is Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee in the House. Meanwhile, Rep. Smith’s bill, H.R. 4227, has been rammed through the Immigration Subcommittee despite the paucity of support for the bill. It is essential that the House get the opportunity to vote on H.R. 3983, as it is a much better bill and also supports people who are running out of time on their H-1B visa.
Although Smith’s bill eliminates the cap all together, it imposes restrictions in the H-1B visa program. For instance, the H-1B visa would only be available to those employers who have hired US workers in the past year. It would also abolish the concept of using an equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree through work experience.
By refusing to call it for a vote, Chairman Smith is ignoring the will of his constituents, colleagues, the business community, and those who benefit from a robust economy. Please contact your Representative and encourage him or her to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 3983. Again the Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
There are other bills that are also pending. I have spoken about the need to restore Section 245 (i), which allows people who are out of status to file for adjustment in the US, provided they have an approved visa petition. H.R. 1841 has been introduced in the House to restore 245(i). By restoring this provision, Congress would help families stay together allowing individuals who apply for permanent residence in the U.S without going abroad. Without 245(i), people have had to go abroad to process their green card and have fallen subject to the unduly harsh three or ten year bars on re-entry, separating them from family, work, and friends.
There is also a proposal to advance the registry date from 1971 to 1986, thereby allowing persons who have been in the US since that year to apply for permanent residence. This would allow late amnesty applicants whose cases were thrown out by federal courts to apply for permanent residence. And finally, there are proposals to roll back some of the harsh provisions of the 1996 Act., especially the provisions that retroactively made people living in the US for many years deportable for minor crimes in the past.
In all probability, we might only see movement on the H-1B bills in this Congress. The other proposals are still on the backburner, unless you push and have your elected representatives support these measures before this Congress term ends.
I hope you found this segment interesting and helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Cyrus Mehta at 212-686-1581. The number once again is 212-686-1581. You can also e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit our website at www.cyrusmehta.com
See you in two weeks.