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Immigration Bill Still under Debate

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
June 2013
Immigration Bill Still under Debate

The Senate Judiciary Committee is in the midst of debating that chamber's bipartisan bill, with the goal of bringing a bill before the full Senate next month. The panel is struggling with the work visa program in the bill and is under intense pressure from technology companies to make it easier to hire foreign workers.

House of Representatives Reach Agreement
Reuters reports that prospects for passage of a major immigration bill improved on May 16, 2013, when a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives declared they had reached a tentative deal, resolving disputes that had threatened to torpedo negotiations. The breakthrough came at the end of a two-hour private meeting of seven Republican and Democratic negotiators. The final sticking point, according to congressional sources, was over whether illegal immigrants now in the United States who gain legal status under the bill could participate in the new healthcare law known as "Obamacare," which Republicans want to repeal.

Even with this breakthrough, the drive to enact a comprehensive immigration bill, which is President Barack Obama's top legislative priority, faces a long, difficult road in Congress. The agreement still must be drafted into legislation for review by the 435 members of the House. Then it faces a potentially tough battle in the House Judiciary Committee, where several conservative Republicans have been dead-set against a comprehensive bill. Instead, they mostly want to pass tougher border security measures and allow U.S. companies to get better access to foreign high-tech workers.

Any proposal to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million people now in the United States illegally, which is part of a Senate bill, is certain to draw fierce opposition from some Republican quarters. Furthermore, the House bill will not fully conform to the measure winding its way through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

New Procedures for Arriving F-1 Students
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ordered a higher level of scrutiny of F-1 students at the U.S. ports of entry (POEs), according to the Associated Press. The revised procedures are a reaction to the Boston marathon bombings. The matter highlights a key weakness in the system used to track individuals entering the United States as students and exchange visitors.

New procedures are being implemented to allow all Customs and Border Patrol agents at POEs to have access to SEVIS (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The CBP will use information from flight manifests to verify information on F-1 students before they arrive in the United States. If the SEVIS information is unavailable, other steps will be taken to obtain verification. Students should anticipate delays at POEs as a result of these heightened security measures.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR JUNE 2013

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

22Apr06

22Apr06

2A

08Jun11

08Jun11

2B

08Jul05

08Jul05

3rd

01Sep02

01Sep02

4th

01May01

01May01

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Sep04

Current

3rd

08Jan03

01Sep08

Other

08Jan03

01Sep08

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B



 

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