Immigration Blog

Transcript: President Obama’s Oct. 24 remarks on immigration reform

By Bill at October 24, 2013 23:38
Filed Under: Immigration News

President Obama delivered the following remarks on immigration reform at the White House on Oct. 24, 2013.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. Everybody have a seat. Have a seat. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Well, please have a seat, everybody.

Good morning --


PRESIDENT OBAMA: -- and welcome to the White House.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Thank you. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Today I'm here with leaders from business, from labor, from faith communities who are united around one goal: finishing the job of fixing a broken immigration system. This is not just an idea whose time has come; this is an idea whose time has been around for years now. Leaders like all of you have worked together with Republicans and Democrats in this town in good faith for years to try to get this done, and this is the moment when we should be able to finally get the job done.

Now, it's no secret the American people haven't seen much out of Washington that that they like these days. The shutdown and the threat of the first default in more than 200 years inflicted real pain on our businesses and on families across the country, and it was a completely unnecessary self-inflicted wound with real cost to real people, and it can never happen again.

But even with the shutdown over and the threat of default eliminated, Democrats and Republicans still have some really big disagreements. There are some just fundamentally different views about how we should move forward on certain issues.

On the other hand, as I said the day after the shutdown ended, that's no reason that we shouldn't be able to work together on the things that we do agree on. We should be able to work together on a responsible budget that invests in the things that we need to grow our economy and create jobs, even while we maintain fiscal discipline. We should be able to pass a farm bill that helps rural communities grow and protects vulnerable Americans in hard times. And we should pass immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Pass immigration reform. (Applause.)

It's good for our economy. It's good for our national security. It's good for our people. And we should do it this year.

You know, everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum, people understand this. We've known it for years. It's not smart to invite some of the brightest minds from around the world to study here and then not let them start businesses here. We've sent them back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs and invent new products someplace else. It's not fair to businesses and middle-class families who play by the rules when we allow companies that are trying to undercut the rules work in the shadow economy to hire folks at lower wages or no benefits, no overtime, so that somehow they get a competitive edge for breaking the rules.

That doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move ahead. It's not smart; it's not fair; it doesn't make sense. We have kicked this particular can down the road for too long.

Now, the good news is this year the Senate has already passed an immigration reform bill by a wide bipartisan majority that addressed all of these issues. It's a bill that would continue to strengthen our borders. It would level the playing field by holding unscrupulous employers accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers.

It would modernize our legal immigration system so that even as we train American workers for the jobs of the future, we're also attracting highly skilled entrepreneurs from beyond our borders to join with us to create jobs here in the United States.

It would make sure that everybody plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are here illegally, one that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes, paying a penalty, getting in line behind everyone who is trying to come here the right way.

So it had all the component parts. It didn't have everything that I wanted; it didn't have anything -- everything that anybody wanted; but it addressed the core challenges of how we create a(n) immigration system that is fair, that's just, that is true to our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

And that's passed the Senate by a bipartisan majority.

So -- (applause) -- here's what we also know, that the bill would grow the economy and shrink our deficits. Independent economists have shown that if the Senate bill became law over the next two decades, our economy would grow by $1.4 trillion more than it would if we don't pass the law. It would reduce our deficits by nearly a trillion dollars.

So this isn't just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do. Securing our borders, modernizing our legal immigration system, providing a pathway to earned legalized citizenship, growing our economy, strengthening our middle class, reducing our deficits -- that's what commonsense immigration reform will do.

Now, obviously just because something is smart and fair and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor -- (laughter) -- the evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans, that does not mean that it will actually get done. (Laughter.) This is Washington, after all.

So everything tends to be viewed through a political prism. And everybody's been looking at the politics of this. And I know that there's some folks in this town who are primed to think, well, if Obama's for it, then I'm against it. But you know, I'd remind everybody that my Republican predecessor was also for it when he proposed reforms like this almost a decade ago.

And I joined with 23 Senate Republicans back then to support that reform. I'd remind you that this reform won more than a dozen Republican votes in the Senate in June. I'm not running for office again; I just believe this is the right thing to do. I just believe this is the right thing to do. (Applause.)

And I also believe that good policy is good politics in this instance. And if folks are really that consumed with the politics of fixing our broken immigration system, they should look -- take a closer look at the polls, because the American people support this. It's not something they reject; they support it. Everybody wins here if we work together to get this done. In fact, if there's a good reason not to pass this common-sense reform, I haven't heard it. So anyone still standing in the way of this bipartisan reform should at least have to explain why. A clear majority of the American people think it's the right thing to do.

Now, how do we -- how do we move forward? Democrats -- Democratic leaders have introduced a bill in the House that is similar to the bipartisan Senate bill. So now it's up to Republicans in the House to decide whether reform becomes a reality or not. I do know -- and this is good news -- that many of them agree that we need to fix our broken immigration system across these areas that we've just discussed. And what I've said to them, and I'll repeat today, is if House Republicans have new and different additional ideas for how we should move forward, then we want to hear them. I'll be listening.

I know that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, those who voted for immigration reform are ready, are eager to hear those additional ideas. But what we can't do is just sweep the problem under the rug one more time, leave it for somebody else to solve sometime in the future.

You know, rather than create problems, let's prove to the American people that Washington can actually solve some problems. This reform comes as close to anything we've got to a law that will benefit everybody now and far into the future, so let's see if we can get this done and let's see if we can get it done this year.

Now the -- (applause) -- we've got the time to do it. Republicans in the House, including the speaker, have said we should act, so let's not wait. It doesn't get easier to just put it off, let's do it now. Let's not delay. Let's get this done. And let's do it in a bipartisan fashion.

To those of you who are here today, I want to just say one last thing, and that is thank you. I want to thank you for your persistence, I want to thank you for your activism, I want to thank you for your passion and your heart when it comes to this issue. And I want to tell you, you've got to keep it up. Keep putting the pressure on all of us to get this done.

There are going to be moment -- and there are always moments like this in big efforts at reform -- where you meet resistance and the press will declare something dead. It's not going to happen, but that can be overcome.

And I have to say, Joe, as I look out at this room, these don't look like people who are easily deterred. (Laughter.) They don't look like folks who are going to give up. (Applause.) You look fired up to make the next push. (Applause.)

And whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or an independent, I want you to keep working, and I'm going to be right next to you, to make sure we get immigration reform done. It is time. Let's go get it done. Thank you very much, everybody. (Cheers, applause.)

(Off-mic conversations.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)

House Judiciary Committee Approves High-Skilled Immigration Bill

By Bill at July 03, 2013 15:47
Filed Under: Immigration News
The House Judiciary Committee today approved the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131), also known as the SKILLS Visa Act,in a vote of 20-14. This bill provides American employers with access to the world’s best talent by allocating green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, increasing H-1B visas, and repealing the employment-based per-country cap.

Key Components of the SKILLS Visa Act:

Increases Green Cards for STEM Grads: The SKILLS Visa Act allocates up to 55,000 green cards a year for employers to petition for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields.

Increases and Strengthens H-1B Visa Program: The SKILLS Visa Act increases the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled workers to 155,000 and increases the special pool of visas for foreign graduates of U.S. universities to 40,000. The bill contains enhanced anti-fraud provisions and allows H-1B spouses to work.

Market-Based Approach to Protect American Workers: The bill improves the prevailing wage calculation to better protect American workers and extends the prevailing wage protection to similar visa programs.

Provides Entrepreneur Visas: The bill allocates up to 10,000 green cards a year for alien entrepreneurs who can attract investment from venture-capital firms to establish businesses that will create at least five jobs or have already created five jobs over 10 years through the E-2 treaty investor program.

Strengthens Investor Visa Program: The bill strengthens the investor visa green card program by making the regional center pilot project permanent, indexing investment requirements for inflation, and adding anti-fraud protections.

Eliminates Arbitrary Caps: The bill eliminates the employment-based green card per-country cap, allowing American employers to have access to the best talent.

Keeps Families Together: The bill allocates an additional 25,000 green cards a year to the spouses and minor children of permanent residents. It also raises the family-sponsored per-country cap.

Makes Immigration System Smarter: The bill repeals the diversity lottery green card program, which is a magnet for fraud and poses a national security threat.

House Immigration Bill Coming Early Next Week

By Bill at July 03, 2013 02:16
Filed Under: Immigration News
Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth says a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be introduced in the House early next week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate version of the bill passed by a comfortable bipartisan margin last Thursday after months of debate.

But Speaker John Boehner has made it clear the Senate version means nothing to the Republican-controlled House, where many lawmakers have described the pathway to citizenship provisions for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as nothing more than amnesty.

The speaker has has also made it clear he will not bring any measure to the House floor unless it receives support from the majority of the GOP caucus.

Major provisions of the Senate immigration bill

By Bill at June 28, 2013 07:12
Filed Under: Immigration News
Update: 6-28-2013: Full Text of Approved Immigration Bill(1198 pages, H-1B Visa parts start from page 872)

Note from editor: Following summary was released by Associated Press on June 27.  It just lists the major provisions of the immigration bill and some might not be up to date. 

For example, the regular annual cap for H-1B visa had been increased to 115,000 by one admentment, the AP summary still used the old figure 110,000.  The summary also did not include some key provisions like removal of county limit on employment green card, work authorization for the spouse of work visa holders, dual-intent for student visa. 

Myvisajobs will release a new summary after reviewing all the admentments passed. 


A look at major provisions of the Senate immigration bill:



—The bill sets out a series of requirements that must be achieved over 10 years before anyone here illegally can obtain a permanent resident green card. These include:

(1) Roughly doubling the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border, to at least 38,405.

(2) Completing 700 miles of pedestrian fencing along the border, which would require approximately 350 new miles of fencing.

(3) Installing a host of new security measures and technologies in specified locations along the border, including specific numbers of surveillance towers, camera systems, ground sensors, radiation detectors, mobile surveillance systems, drones, helicopters, airborne radar systems, planes and ships.

(4) Implementing a system for all employers to verify electronically their workers' legal status.

(5) Setting up a new electronic system to track people leaving the nation's airports and seaports.

—The border security improvements are designed to achieve 100 percent surveillance of the border with Mexico and ensure that 90 percent of would-be crossers are caught or turned back.

—If the goals of a 90 percent effectiveness rate and continuous surveillance on the border are not met within five years, a Southern Border Security Commission made up of border-state governors and others would determine how to achieve them.

—Border security spending in the bill totals around $46 billion.



—The estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally could obtain "registered provisional immigrant status" six months after enactment of the bill as long as:

(1) The Homeland Security Department has developed border security and fencing plans, per the specifications set out in the bill.

(2) They arrived in the U.S. prior to Dec. 31, 2011, and maintained continuous physical presence since then.

(3) They do not have a felony conviction or three or more misdemeanors.

(4) They pay a $500 fine.

—People in provisional legal status could work and travel in the U.S. but would not be eligible for most federal benefits, including health care and welfare.

—The provisional legal status lasts six years and is renewable for another six years for $500.

—People deported for noncriminal reasons can apply to re-enter in provisional status if they have a spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or if they had been brought to the U.S. as a child.

—After 10 years in provisional status, immigrants can seek a green card and lawful permanent resident status if they are current on their taxes and pay a $1,000 fine, have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S., meet work requirements and learn English. Also the border triggers must have been met, and all people waiting to immigrate through the legal system as of the date of enactment of the legislation must have been dealt with.

—People brought to the country as youths would be able to get green cards in five years, and citizenship immediately thereafter.



—The cap on the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers would be immediately raised from 65,000 a year to 110,000 a year, with 25,000 more set aside for people with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. school. The cap could go as high as 180,000 a year depending on demand.

—New protections would crack down on companies that use H-1B visas to train workers in the U.S. only to ship them back overseas.

—Immigrants with certain extraordinary abilities, such as professors, researchers, multinational executives and athletes, would be exempted from existing green-card limits. So would graduates of U.S. universities with job offers and degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.

—A startup visa would be made available to foreign entrepreneurs seeking to come to the U.S. to start a company.

—A new merit visa, for a maximum of 250,000 people a year, would award points to prospective immigrants based on their education, employment, length of residence in the U.S. and other considerations. Those with the most points would earn the visas.

—The bill would eliminate the government's Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which randomly awards 55,000 visas to immigrants from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, so that more visas can be awarded for employment and merit ties.



—A new W visa would allow up to 200,000 low-skilled workers a year into the country for jobs in construction, long-term care, hospitality and other industries.

—A new agriculture worker visa program would be established to replace the existing program. Agriculture workers already here illegally, who've worked in the industry at least two years, could qualify in another five years for green cards if they stay in the industry.



—Under current law, U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, children and siblings to come to the U.S., with limits on some categories. The bill would bar citizens from sponsoring their siblings and would allow them to sponsor married sons and daughters only if those children are under age 31.

—Legal permanent residents can currently sponsor spouses and children, but the numbers are limited. The bill eliminates that limit.



—Within four years, all employers must implement E-Verify, a program to verify electronically their workers' legal status. As part of that, noncitizens would be required to show photo ID that must match with a photo in the E-Verify system.

Press Release: Tech Leaders Urge U.S. Senate to Approve Immigration Reform Bill

By Bill at June 23, 2013 16:27
Filed Under: Immigration News

Washington, DC – More than 100 executives from the technology sector and leading innovation advocacy organizations, including Google, FaceBook, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Yahoo and Cisco, today called on the U.S. Senate to approve comprehensive immigration reform legislation (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013/S. 744).

In the letter, the technology executives wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and all members of the Senate.The executives urged the Senate to quickly approve the bill that includes reforms to enable a more open and flexible U.S. immigration system for high-skilled workers.

The following is the text of the letter from leading technology executives:

“As representatives of the leading technology innovators, designers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and job creators in the United States, we write to request your support for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.  This critically important legislation would help ensure that America continues to be the location of the world’s most innovative and fastest growing industries—those that rely on intellectual property and highly educated talent.  Your support for S. 744 will allow America to better realize opportunities for innovation and job creation today, as well as secure our economic strength in the future.

“America is the most prosperous country in the world.  The U.S. technology sector employs over 6 million Americans and contributes $1 trillion to our country’s Gross Domestic Product.  Our success stems from our historic diversity, and the constant infusion of new and innovative ideas fostered by our democratic system of education and innovation. 

“We applaud the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan sponsors of S. 744, as well as the bill’s bipartisan supporters in the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have collaboratively crafted and refined a comprehensive bill that would truly modernize a broken and outdated immigration system. We strongly believe the many reforms in S. 744 that impact high skilled immigration – including key improvements in the availability of both green cards and H-1B visas – will help address the national talent shortage in the near-term, while also creating a long-term pipeline of American workers through establishing a much-needed new fund for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, including computer science education.  The bill will also protect and better prepare American workers, and enable employers and entrepreneurs of all sizes in every state to recruit and retain the world’s best talent. 

Senate approval of S. 744 is essential for our economy to continue to foster innovation and invigorate many U.S. business sectors through an educated and highly skilled workforce of domestic and foreign-born talent.  Absent reform, if every American graduate receiving an advanced STEM degree gets a job, the U.S. is estimated to face at least 200,000 unfilled advanced-degree STEM jobs by 2018.   These unfilled jobs represent lost opportunities for our country, but with S. 744, we can fill these jobs, create new ones and invest in a future of economic growth.

We urge your support for S. 744, which will help to open a new path to American innovation, American economic strength, and greater opportunities for American workers.


The following executives have signed on to the letter:

Evan Burfield, Co-founder, 1776; Maury Blackman, President & Chief Executive Office, Accela; Khaled Naim, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Addy Inc.; Darrell Ford, Chief Human Resources Officer, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD); Pankaj Jindal, Chief Operating Officer, Akraya Inc.; Hannah Kain, Chief Executive Officer , ALOM; Eric Davidson, President, American Automation & Communications, Inc.; David A. Raymond, President & Chief Executive Officer,  American Council of Engineering Companies; Mike Splinter, Chief Executive Officer, Applied Materials, Inc.; Kevin Surace, Chief Executive Officer, Appvance; Steven Zylstra, President & Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Technology Council; Richard Lord, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Massachusetts; Morgan Reed, Executive Director, Association for Competitive Technology;Randall Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T; Carl Bass, President & Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk, Inc.; Kevin Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, Avaya Inc.; Jim Wunderman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Bay Area Council; Michael S. Scheeringa, President & Chief Executive Officer, BBA Aviation Flight Support; Brad Bullington, Chief Executive Officer, Bridgelux; Matt Reid, Senior Vice President External Affairs, BSA | The Software Alliance; Mike Montgomery, Executive Director, CALinnovates; Pasquale Romano, President & Chief Executive Officer, ChargePoint; Richard Lowenthal, Chief Technology Officer, ChargePoint, John Chambers, Chief Executive Officer, Cisco Systems; Kim Polese, Chairman, ClearStreet Inc.;Edward Black, President & Chief Executive Officer, Computer & Communications Industry Association; Todd Thibodeaux, President & Chief Executive Officer, Computing Technology Industry Association; Gary Shapiro, President & Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Electronics Association; David Spreng, Managing Partner, Crescendo Ventures; Kim Fennell, President & Chief Executive Officer, deCarta Inc.; Steve Price, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Dell; Don Means, Founder & Principal, Digital Village; John Donahoe, President & Chief Executive Officer, eBay Inc.; Ronald Sege, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Corporation;Vishal Verma, Partner, EDGEWOOD Ventures; Fabio Rosati, Chief Executive Officer, Elance, Inc.; Michael McGeary, Co-Founder, Engine; Belal Hummadi, Chief Executive Officer, ExciteM; Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer, Facebook; Jerry Mix, Chief Executive Officer, Finelite Inc.; Caroline Dowling, President INS, Flextronics; Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital; Martin Schoeppler, President & Chief Executive Officer, FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc.; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Rami Branitzky, Chief Executive Officer, Grok; Koichi Fujikawa, Co-Founder, Hapyrus Inc.; Josh Mendelsohn, Managing Director, Hattery; Fred Hoch, President & Chief Executive Officer; Illinois Technology Association; Thomas Fallon, Chief Executive Officer, Infinera; Dean Garfield, President & Chief Executive Officer, Information Technology Industry Council;James Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer, Insikt; Douglas Melamed, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Intel; Adriane Brown, President & Chief Executive Officer, Intellectual Ventures; Paul Lovoi, Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Jan Medical; Kevin Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Juniper Networks;Mary Meeker, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; Shaun Cross, Chief Executive Officer, Lee & Hayes; Josh Becker, Chief Executive Officer, Lex Machina;Marty Beard, President & Chief Executive Officer, LiveOps, Inc.; Karl Sun, Chief Executive Officer, Lucid Software Inc.; Geetha Vallabhaneni, Chief Executive Office, Luminix, Inc.; Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Tom Hopcroft, Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council;Darlene McCalmont, Chief Executive Officer, McCalmont Engineering; Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft; Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, NASDAQ OMX; William Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council; Bobbie Kilberg, President & Chief Executive Officer, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC); Randell J. McMills, Senior Vice President, Regional Executive the Americas, nxp Semiconductors; Ralph Schmitt, President & Chief Executive Officer, OCZ Technology Group, Inc.; Eric Stang, Chief Executive Officer, Ooma; Chris Larsen, Chief Executive Officer, OpenCoin, Inc.; Safra Catz, President & Chief Financial Officer, Oracle; Joseph Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America;Maryse Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Pokeware; Paul Jacobs, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated; Lanham Napier, Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace; Steve Case, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, Revolution LLC; Rita Cepeda, Chancellor, San Jose Evergreen/Community College District; Barbara Holzapfel, SVP & Managing Director, SAP Labs North America, SAP; Denny McGuirk, President & Chief Executive Officer, SEMI; Brian Toohey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Semiconductor Industry Association; Greg Becker, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Bank; Carl Guardino, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Scott Lang, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silver Spring Networks; Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association;Gary Yacoubian, Chief Executive Officer, Specialty Technologies, LLC, Andrew Ball, President, West Region,Suffolk; Virginia Klausmeier, Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder, Sylvatex Inc;  Steve Bennett, President & Chief Executive Officer, Symantec Corporation; Aart de Geus, Chairman and co-Chief Executive Officer, Synopsys, Inc., Scott Allison, Chief Executive Officer, Teamly Inc; Bruce Mehlman, Executive Director, Technology CEO Council; Shawn Osborne, President & Chief Executive Officer, TechAmerica; Alix Burns, Acting Chief Executive Officer, TechNet; Terry Howerton, Founder, TechNexus LLC; Grant Seiffert, President, Telecommunications Industry Association; Rich Templeton, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Texas Instruments Incorporated; James Brett, President & Chief Executive Officer, The New England Council;Steve Westly, Managing Director, The Westly Group; Ryan Rogowski, Chief Executive Officer, Translate Abroad; Robert Lally, President, TransPak, Inc.; Steven Berglund, President & Chief Executive Officer, Trimble Navigation; Stephen Kaufer, President & Chief Executive Officer, TripAdvisor; David Cush, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin America; Susan Sigl, President & Chief Executive Officer, Washington Technology Industry Association; Steve Milligan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Western Digital Corporation; Moshe Gavrielov, Chief Executive Officer, Xilinx; Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer,Yahoo!; Jeremy Stoppelman, Chief Executive Officer,Yelp; and, Mark Pincus, Chief Executive Officer, Zyngna.

The leading technology associations organizing this effort include: American Council of Engineering Companies; Association for Competitive Technology; Business Software Alliance; Compete America; CompTIA; Computer and Communications Industry Association; Consumer Electronics Association; Engine Advocacy; Information Technology Industry Council; Inspire STEM USA; Internet Association; Partnership for a New American Economy; SEMI; Semiconductor Industry Association; TechAmerica; Tech CEO Council; and TechNet.


Obama urges Senate to pass immigration overhaul bill by end of the summer

By Bill at June 09, 2013 20:41
Filed Under: Immigration News

President Obama again urged Congress to pass immigration reform on June 8th, saying there's "no reason" lawmakers can't come together to put a bill on his desk by "the end of the summer."

The president said, the immigration reform has "got broad support - from Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, law enforcement and clergy. So there is no reason that Congress can't work together to send a bill to my desk by the end of the summer." read more

The Senate has officially beginning a floor debate on the immigration bill on June 7th. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he expected to hold a vote on final passage by July 4.

In the House, members of a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers announced on June 5th that they had "found a way forward" on their own immigration reform proposal. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that there was enough “general agreement” on bipartisan immigration reform for a measure to pass, saying a bill could be sent to Obama to sign by August.

The Immigration Bill increased the number of H1B Visa and Green Card for foreign workers. If the President could sign the bill into law by the end of the summer, we might have 50,000-75,000 new H1B Visa available starting October 1, 2013.

According to IEEE-USA, the unemployment rate for software engineers in U.S. was 2.2% in the first quarter of 2013, down from 2.8% in 2012. Due to structural unemployment, a 4% unemployment rate is considered as full employment. No wonder the American employers are lobbying hard for more H-1B visa.

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Obama: Pass immigration reform by "end of the summer"

By Bill at June 09, 2013 20:08
Filed Under: Immigration News
President Obama again urged Congress to pass immigration reform in his weekly address on Saturday, saying there's "no reason" lawmakers can't come together to put a bill on his desk by "the end of the summer."

The president commended the work being done in the Senate, where a bipartisan "gang of eight" senators has authored a compromise bill that would, broadly speaking, strengthen border security, crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, modernize the legal immigration system, and provide an earned pathway to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

"The bill before the Senate isn't perfect," Mr. Obama said on Saturday. "It's a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want - not Democrats, not Republicans, not me. But it is a bill that's largely consistent with the principles I've repeatedly laid out for common-sense immigration reform."

"That's what immigration reform looks like. Smarter enforcement. A pathway to earned citizenship. Improvements to the legal immigration system. They're all common-sense steps," he continued. "They've got broad support - from Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, law enforcement and clergy. So there is no reason that Congress can't work together to send a bill to my desk by the end of the summer."

Revised Senate Immigration Bill Furthur Increases H1B Visa Number

By Bill at May 27, 2013 20:17
Filed Under: Immigration News
The original Senate Immigration Bill, would increase H-1B base cap from 65,000 to 110,000, with an escalator that can increase the cap to 180,000 in increments of 10,000 in response to demand. It also included an increase of the 20,000 exemption for U.S. advanced degree holders to be 25,000. Read the original bill for details.

The tech industry wanted a cap of at least 300,000. According to Computer World report, the revised bill raises the initial cap from 65,000 to 115,000. Not sure about the change to exemption for U.S. advanced degree holders yet. 

The annual escalator was increased to 20,000, while the overall cap of 180,000 remains unchanged. The amendments add a provision that blocks escalator increases if occupational unemployment for the management, professional and related occupations is 4.5% or higher. This will almost certainly ensure that the H-1B Visa numbers reach the 180,000 limit with 3-4 years. 

"Did the supporters of the amendment know that the average unemployment (rate) for this group was 3.7% last April, compared with what this amendment has, 4.5%?" said Grassley. "This amendment does nothing to stop huge increases in H-1B visas." 

In the first quarter of this year the unemployment rate for management professionals was 3.8%; for computing and math specialists, 3.5%, and for tech architects and engineers, 3.8%.

So if the President could sign the bill into law as it is before the end of fiscal year 2013(Sep 30, 2013), we will have 55,000-75,000 new H1B Visa available starting October 1, 2013. 

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