Wanted: Foreign workers. H-1B visa requests leap
Applications for H-1B visas allowing foreign nationals to work in the U.S. are expected to keep rising in 2014, according to one analyst. At least 160,000 applications are expected for the 85,000 available visas when the filing season opens on April 1, said Marc Klein, an immigration attorney with Thompson & Knight.
Pew finds broad support for immigrants
A new poll released Thursday finds that a broad, bipartisan majority of Americans favor allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States, although less than half would support a path to citizenship for them.Seventy-three percent of Americans back a path to legal status as long as the immigrants meet a series of requirements, according to the poll released by the Pew Research Center. That includes 81 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans, the poll found.
Impasse on immigration reform frustrates employers
With immigration reform stalled in Congress, last year saw a surge in the number of laws passed by states hoping to better regulate the use foreign workers. As a result, employers with sites in multiple locations are facing an increasingly complex – if not conflicting – set of rules for immigrant labor. … According to Mike Aitken, vice president of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management, the resulting state laws have been inconsistent with each other and, at times, with federal rules. “If there’s ever a role where the federal government should be pre-eminent, it’s with immigration,” Aitken said. “We just think this is not the way to go. You don’t want 50 states interpreting United States’ immigration law.” … According to Justin Storch, manager of agency liaison for the Council for Global Immigration, an Alexandria, Va.-based group affiliated with SHRM, the impasse on federal reform has left employers struggling to navigate the patchwork of requirements and rules that they face. “Employers would like consistency, so they’re not having to look at a variety of state laws,” he said. “We understand why some states are looking at implementing new laws, but we do think it really should be the federal government moving the ball on this issue.”
America needs more immigrants like Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO
Few people will be more excited about Satya Nadella's elevation to CEO of Microsoft than his former classmates and teachers at MIT. No, not the famous one in Massachusetts, the Manipal Institute of Technology in India. The Times of India visited the school shortly after Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, announced his retirement. It reported on the pride that MIT faculty, students and alumni felt knowing that one of their own was a candidate to run one of the world's most important software companies. Nadella's selection as Microsoft's new CEO is the latest reminder of the critical role immigrants play in America's economy, and especially its high-tech sector. Immigrants are ubiquitous in Silicon Valley, in the nation's best computer science programs, and in software companies across the country. And immigrants have founded and led some of America's most important technology companies.
Obama says he's open to taking executive action on immigration
President Obama on Friday said he's open to taking executive action on immigration. The president said if Congress can’t pass reform legislation, he would explore all “available options” to implement a “smart system” unilaterally. “I’m going to look at all available options,” Obama said during a virtual “road trip” chat hosted by Google.
House Republican Leaders To Outline Immigration Principles
House Republican leaders plan to outline broad immigration principles, including legalization for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally, to the GOP rank and file as they look to revive long-stalled efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House GOP leaders will measure the willingness of party members to tackle immigration in a midterm election year when they unveil the principles Thursday at the GOP caucus’ annual retreat in Cambridge, Md. Read more
Obama: Time to ‘fix our broken immigration system’
President Barack Obama says Democrats and Republicans in the House want to overhaul immigration laws. He calls on them to pass legislation this year. In his State of the Union address, Obama says it is time to heed the calls to change immigration laws from business and labor leaders, religious leaders and law enforcement officials.
Bloomberg, Business Community Rally Again for Immigration Reform
For at least eight years, the American business community has held high profile events pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. On Friday, at a press conference at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, D.C, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Michigan governor Rick Snyder, and George W. Bush’s Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez carried the torch, calling for legislation in stark terms in an attempt to break through the congressional impasse. “Without immigration [reform] we don’t have a future,” said Bloomberg, asserting as he has in the past, that the current policy is “national suicide.” Snyder opened his remarks with a similarly stark assessment: “To be blunt, we have a dumb system,” he said.
States boost immigration action
State legislatures are growing increasingly impatient when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, according to a new report, which shows a massive increase in laws and resolutions to fix the broken immigration system. The National Conference of State Legislatures report, released Tuesday, documents a 64 percent increase in state-level immigration legislation; in all, 2013 saw a total of 437 laws and resolutions passed on immigration, compared to 267 in 2012.
Immigration Reform Chances High: Steve Case
Former AOL Chairman and CEO Steve Case discusses U.S. politics and immigration reform on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop."
Boehner says GOP will soon outline immigration position
Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told House Republicans on Wednesday morning that the GOP leadership would soon release an outline of the conference’s position on immigration reform, signaling his intent to address an issue that has often caused controversy within his party. Several House Republicans told The Washington Post that Boehner did not specify the details of the framework, and said Boehner’s comments were brief. He also did not discuss a specific timeline for its release.
Immigration Advocates Undeterred as House Departs Without Action
New York Times
As the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wrapped up its work for the year on Thursday with no progress on immigration, leaders from both parties said they would return to the issue early in the new year. Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing that immigration would be a “top priority” in 2014. He said the House would advance a series of bills to strengthen enforcement, improve the legal immigration process and find “the appropriate legal status for those who are not here lawfully today.” Despite the biting chill, the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, surrounded herself on the steps of the Capitol with dozens of Democratic lawmakers and with advocates who had been fasting in a tent on the National Mall to push the House to vote on an immigration bill.
Boehner Hire Signals Possible Action on Immigration
Wall Street Journal
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, following a GOP strategy session. People on both sides of the immigration debate saw House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to hire a longtime advocate for immigration legislation as a sign he may be serious about moving something through the House. Mr. Boehner is hiring Rebecca Tallent, who most recently has been the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center but worked for Sen. John McCain for many years and was deeply involved in his work to pass an immigration bill during the Bush administration.
Poll: Americans Still Favor Immigration Reform, Path to Citizenship
Most Americans said they favor allowing illegal immigrants living in the United States a path to citizenship, the Public Religion Research Institute said. Sixty-three percent said they favored providing a path to citizenship with certain requirements to undocumented workers already in the United States while 14 percent said they favored allowing illegal immigrants living in the United States to become legal residents but not citizens, results of a poll released Monday indicated.
Immigration Reform Boosts Economic Recovery
U.S. News & World Report
Immigration reform should boost economic growth by 4.8 percent and reduce the country's deficits by $1.2 trillion during the next two decades, according to a new Bipartisan Policy Center study. As a comprehensive immigration reform bill hangs in the balance on Capitol Hill, a new Bipartisan Policy Center study shows an aggressive overhaul could boost the country's anemic economic recovery. The report found that during the next 20 years, immigration would bolster the country's economic growth by 4.8 percent. The report shows that immigration reform would reduce the country's deficits by $1.2 trillion during this time, as young, working immigrants take jobs and pay taxes.
President Obama on immigration: 'Let's do it now'
Immigration reform may not pass, but that’s no reason to give up the fight, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The president made his long-awaited return to the issue in a brief East Room speech urging advocates to keep the pressure on House Republicans to take action on the Senate’s immigration bill, saying that only public pressure will lead to action.
Read more House Republicans Say They'll Act on Immigration Reform This Year
House Republicans intensified their outreach to Latino groups last week, offering renewed pledges that the House will deal with immigration reform this year. The effort has revived hope among reform advocates that a bipartisan deal can be reached to address the fate of the nation’s 11 million undocumented workers and students. The chances of a comprehensive reform deal passing Congress remain doubtful, advocates cautioned, and they worry that the legislative process will spill into 2014, presenting new complications in a year when lawmakers face reelection battles.
Outside Groups Try to Revive Immigration Reform
Nancy Pelosi is huddling with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, top labor leaders and former AOL executive Steve Case in separate meetings this week as supporters of immigration reform try to revive the issue, which fast seems to be dying on Capitol Hill. Their goal: get legislation moving in the House again before the Thanksgiving recess. Proponents concede that it’s a heavy lift and that Republican lawmakers didn’t come out of the August recess ready to act.
Business Groups Upbeat on Fall Deal to Move Immigration Bill
Business groups say their grassroots efforts to build support for an immigration overhaul are paying off and making them increasingly optimistic that Congress will complete comprehensive legislation this fall. Manufacturers and business leaders are spending the bulk of the August congressional recess canvassing the country, sitting down with lawmakers and chatting at local town-hall meetings to explain how fixing the immigration system is crucial to the nation's economic future. Business groups want to see the House and Senate join forces as they have done with a diverse coalition of groups to push through an immigration package that streamlines the process and helps employers fill persistent openings for low- and high-skilled workers, while providing better border security.
White House puts numbers to immigration reform
The White House said Tuesday immigration reform is not only the right thing to do, it would also add significantly to the U.S. gross domestic product. "Our country is stronger when everyone has a stake, everyone pays their taxes and fulfills their responsibilities, and everyone is equally invested in our common future," the White House said in a report titled, "Fixing Our Broken Immigration System."
Immigration reform backers see hopeful signs in House
Despite the missed goals, uncertain timetable and at-times heated rhetoric in the Republican-led House of Representatives, immigration-reform supporters remain cautiously optimistic that a game plan is emerging that will have lawmakers voting on the legislation this year. Action in the House is on hold until after Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 9. But the five-week break, during which representatives will hold town hall meetings and otherwise gauge the feelings of their constituents, could go a long way toward determining the legislation's fate.
Bloomberg: U.S. needs immigration reform now
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, kicking off a weekend of events dedicated to America's immigration heritage, said Friday that now is the time for immigration reform. Bloomberg told a bipartisan delegation of more than 70 political and community leaders from across the country that America needs a modern immigration system that "welcomes the entrepreneurs and the hard workers that will grow our nation's economy."
Sign of Hope Seen in House for Immigration Overhaul
New York Times
As House Republicans took a tentative step forward on an immigration overhaul this week and raised the possibility of citizenship for those brought to the United States illegally as young children, immigration advocates found themselves pondering a new question: Is the potential concession as far as many House Republicans are willing to go, or are they slowly inching their way toward a broader compromise?
Senate Approves Overhaul of Immigration Laws
Wall Street Journal
The Senate easily passed the most sweeping changes to immigration law in nearly 30 years, sending the landmark measure to the House, where conservative lawmakers threaten to slow the drive to grant legal status to many of the estimated 11 million people living illegally in the U.S. The 68-32 vote Thursday marked a major step in a long-debated overhaul to the immigration system and drew ceremonial flourish. Vice President Joe Biden presided over the proceedings, and lawmakers rose from their desks to cast their votes, a rarely used gesture of formality.
Immigration Law Changes Seen Cutting Billions From Deficit
New York Times
Congressional budget analysts, providing a positive economic assessment of proposed immigration law changes, said Tuesday that legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system would cut close to $1 trillion from the federal deficit over the next two decades and lead to more than 10 million new legal residents in the country. A long-awaited analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found that the benefits of an increase in legal residents from immigration legislation currently being debated in the Senate — which includes a pathway to citizenship — would outweigh the costs.
SHRM, ACIP Optimistic on Immigration Reform
Compromise. They didn’t use the word but that’s what Mike Aitken of the Society of Human Resource Management and Lynn Shotwell of the American Council on International Personnel seemed to agree employers would see happen in the next couple of weeks, as lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate negotiate a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system.
Senate Clears First Immigration Hurdle
The Senate on Tuesday voted to open debate on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill on overwhelmingly bipartisan lines, staving off a filibuster 82 to 15.Read more
Intel, Oracle Team with HR Groups on Immigration
Seeing power in numbers, tech firms are uniting with human resources organizations and research institutions to emphasize the need for more green cards, a trusted employer program and a reliable E-Verify system. The group, led by the American Council of International Personnel and the Society for Human Resource Management, is launching a website, starting an online ad campaign, and lobbying the Hill this week.
Interactive Graphic: The Long Wait for a Green CardSteeper Proposed Visa Fees Could Cost Employers $232 Million
Wall Street Journal
The immigration bill before the Senate … would address lengthy backlogs in the existing green-card application process, in which legal immigrants often wait years or even decades for permanent resident status, a key step to citizenship. Our visual exploration of more than 20 years of State Department data shows how some legal immigrants wait much longer than others to navigate the process.
New work-permit fees proposed in the Senate’s immigration bill … would double, to $4,825, the cost of H-1B visas for highly skilled employees from overseas. … That doesn’t include the estimated cost of renewing existing visas and legal fees that range from $1,000 to $3,000 per worker, according to the American Council on International Personnel, an Alexandria-based trade association for U.S. companies using overseas talent. … The American Council on International Personnel, the advocacy group, said it objects to using visa fees for security programs. The group “supports ensuring our borders are properly secured, but we also believe that fees placed on compliant employers should be used to improve immigration services and U.S. competitiveness,’’ said Rebecca Peters, director and counsel for legislative affairs for the group, whose members include Intel and PricewaterhouseCoopers.Read more
Employers Face Deadline to Use New Worker Eligibility Form
Employers in Maryland and across the United States face a deadline Wednesday that some may not know exists but that could prove costly if ignored. That's when all employers will be required to use an updated version of the federal I-9 form to prove the eligibility of new workers. … "It's a matter of making sure everything is entered correctly," said Justin Storch, manager of agency liaison for the American Council on International Personnel, a trade group for engineering and technology companies with at least one international office. "One little slip-up here and there can open employers up to liability. It's important for all employers to know this new form is out there, but there's a good chance there are a lot employers out there who don't know it's been released."
Senate's High-Tech Visa Expansion Has Both Sides Suggesting Tweaks‘Compromise’ Immigration Measure Would Overhaul Work Visas, Mandate Use of E-Verify
The high-skilled-worker provisions in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill have achieved the dubious distinction of leaving both sides of the debate wanting more. Business groups are worried the bill goes too far in its attempts to protect American workers from foreign competition. Advocates for limiting foreign recruiting, including some GOP senators, say the legislation doesn’t go far enough. … Rebecca Peters, legislative affairs director for the American Council on International Personnel, said her group is “working with policymakers to ensure that some of the new additional requirements that would be imposed on employers who have less than 15 percent of their workforce on H-1B visas will not make the system so arduous as to render it unusable.” “As countless studies have shown, H-1B visa holders benefit the U.S. economy and help create jobs, so we need a system that allows them to work and contribute to America,” she said.
A comprehensive immigration bill introduced April 17 by the Senate's “gang of eight” would make sweeping changes to employment-based visas and temporary foreign worker programs, require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, and allow most undocumented immigrants currently in the country to apply for legal status and ultimately citizenship. … “The current U.S. immigration system is holding America back from greater growth and innovation. We need a system that is efficient and embodies the needs of U.S. employers and the American workforce, allowing employers to access and retain critical talent, and we stand ready to work with all policymakers to ensure that it does,” American Council on International Personnel Executive Director Lynn Shotwell said in a statement April 17. ACIP advocates for immigration changes on behalf of large, multinational employers.