Congress holds new hearing on immigration bill
The STRIVE Act may still be in play and, with it, higher H-1B caps
By Ephraim Schwartz
September 06, 2007
On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees Border Security, and International Law convened and on its first day took written statements from witnesses on the bill.
The comprehensive immigration bill that caused such a furor earlier this year, mainly over the issue of whether it was offering amnesty to illegal immigrants, also addressed the H-1B visa cap.
The cap, now set at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign workers who have a graduate degree from a U.S. institution, would be raised to 115,000 for 2008 with a stipulation that it would go up an additional 20 percent each year that the quota was met, with a final cap of 180,000 visas issued.
At the hearing, STRIVE Act cosponsor Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona did not specifically bring up the issue of H-1B, but he did say that the STRIVE Act “addresses the failures and problems with past worker programs.”
Countering Flake's premise, Julie Kirchner, the government relations director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform said, “These provisions are a serious threat to high-tech workers in the U.S., including legal immigrants who have patiently waited their turn to take part in the American dream.”
In total, there were a dozen witnesses submitting written statements, but the others did not address the issue of the H-1B visa cap.
Ephraim Schwartz is editor at large at InfoWorld. He also writes the Reality Check blog.
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