Consequences of the Senate Immigration Reform Bill

The senators unveiled an immigration reform bill in April and the bill will soon receive feedback from the Judiciary Committee. Some lawmakers are happy about the bill but there are many who are against it as there are few positive and negative consequences. The bill would legalize undocumented immigrants, stiffen border security, mandate E-verify and create guest worker programs. The Senate bill would mandate E-verify and would set stricter parameters for E-verify. Immigrants would be issued biometric identification cards and those cards would help the employers to make sure that the hired employees are legal residents. Though E-verify permits the US employers to make sure that the hired employees are eligible to work in America, many say that E-verify is inefficient. That is because E-verify is prone to mechanical errors.

The Senate bill includes a pathway to US citizenship but it is a long and an arduous pathway and the nation’s undocumented immigrants would have to wait for years to become citizens of the country. Undocumented immigrants would first be allowed to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status and to apply for that status, they need to establish that they arrived in the United States before December 31st 2011. After ten years, they could apply for Green Cards and then for US citizenship after three years. Hence, the overall process would take 13 years to complete and the immigrants in Registered Provisional Immigrant status may not be granted access to public benefits and the status would be temporary. But the immigrants in this temporary status would be permitted to start up businesses, own homes and contribute to the economy of the country but they would not be able to receive public benefits.

Technology companies in America are happy about this Senate bill as this bill would expand the H-1B visa program. These H-1B workers would contribute to the economy of the country and would also create new jobs in America. However, this bill would adversely affect few large companies that rely on outsourcing as the bill states that US companies would not be permitted to employ more than 75% of foreign workers. If the workforce of a particular US company is composed of 75% or more foreign workers, that company would not be able to hire more foreign workers.

The immigration reform bill of the senators would create a new visa program for low skilled workers, the W visa program and would make available 20,000 W visas by 2015. These visas would be valid for three years and W visa holders would be allowed to work and live in the United States for three years along with their spouses and children. This W visa program will replace the H-2A visa program that currently permits low skilled foreign workers to work in the country. H-2A visa holders can work only for particular US employers who sponsor them but the new W visa would not tie the foreign workers to one particular employer. W visa holders could change jobs but may to be able to remain in America if they remain unemployed for 60 days.

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