Immigration Enforcement

Senators Propose Rules To Remove Fraud From H-1B Visas & Protect U.S. Workers

Senator Chuck Grassley, along with Sen. Dick Durbin, introduced legislation to reform the H-1B and L visa programs. The U.S. issues 65,000 H-1B visas annually to high-skilled foreign workers in fields where there is a worker shortage. L-1 visas are issued to employees of foreign companies and allows them to work in the United States for three years. Both programs have come under fire for claims of fraud.

The legislation makes reforms to increase enforcement, modify wage requirements, and ensure protection for visa holders and American workers. The bill does not eliminate the program or change the numerical cap of visas available to petitioning employers.

“The H-1B program was never meant to replace qualified American workers. It was meant to complement them because of a shortage of workers in specialized fields. In tough economic times like we’re seeing, it’s even more important that we do everything possible to see that Americans are given every consideration when applying for jobs. If there aren’t qualified Americans, companies can use the legal immigration programs we have available, but we must return the H-1B and L visa programs back to their original intent,” Sen. Grassley said in a released statement.

The Durbin-Grassley bill would, among other things:

  • Require all employers who want to hire an H-1B guest-worker to first make a good-faith attempt to recruit a qualified American worker. Employers would be prohibited from using H-1B visa holders to displace qualified American workers.
  • Prohibit the blatantly discriminatory practice of “H-1B only” ads and prohibit employers from hiring additional H-1B and L-1 guest-workers if more than 50 percent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
  • Permit the Department of Labor to initiate investigations without a complaint and without the Labor Secretary’s personal authorization;
  • Authorize the Department of Labor to review H-1B applications for fraud;
  • Allow the Department of Labor to conduct random audits of any company that uses the H-1B visa program;
  • Require the Department of Labor to conduct annual audits of companies who employ large numbers of H-1B workers.
  • Provide safeguards for visa holders so they know their rights under the law. This would include wage rates and access to benefits.
  • Establish a process to investigate, audit and penalize L-1 visa abuses.

For more information, see Sen. Grassley’s press release .

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April 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

E-VERIFY WILL DIE IF CONGRESS DOESN’T ACT THIS WEEK

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has two choices:

  • No. 1: Go around Sen.Menendez who has a “hold” on H.R. 6633, the “clean” E-Verify re-authorization bill passed by the House.   Sen. Reid can bring this back-room filibuster to the Senate floor for a vote. If he does this, there easily will be the 60 votes necessary to stop Menendez and allow an overwhelming majority vote to pass H.R. 6633. (Reid reportedly doesn’t want to do this because he doesn’t want to force some of his Democrats to have to go on record just before the election.)
  • No. 2: Avoid a vote altogether by talking to Menendez privately, persuading him that what he is doing is threatening the reputation of the Democratic Party just before elections and get him to withdraw his “hold” on H.R. 6633. (This way, Reid could then bring H.R. 6633 to the floor in the “hot-wire” fashion which will pass by voice vote.)

Either way, the American worker and public wins. It is all about Reid doing one of those two things.

This is why we want you to put particular pressure on Democratic Senators to put an end to Menendez’ shameful grandstanding. Fortunately, Senate Republicans are standing firm against Menendez.

SEN. MENENDEZ’ E-VERIFY BLACKMAIL DEAL

After we told you that some Republican Senate staffers were working with Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.) for massive increases in foreign workers, you hammered Republican offices for not holding the line for a “clean” E-Verify bill.

Your efforts really worked. By the end of this last week, Republican Senate staffs were going into negotiations with Democrats and making it clear they were united in oppositiion to a foreign-worker surge at this time of 5-year-high unemployment and financial industry collapse.

Sen. Menendez apparently is not bothered by the 5-year-high official unemployment rate — or even by the 292,000 additional American workers who went on unemployment in August alone.  He is insisting that if we keep E-Verify, then we have to add another 550,000 foreign workers next year to the 1.1 million immigrants already scheduled to come.

(AS A REMINDER: E-Verify is the central tool for taking away the job magnet from illegal immigration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to kill it so outlaw businesses will have more freedom to hire illegal workers. E-Verify is the on-line system that businesses can type into for each new hire and find out if they are an illegal alien.

(If you live in Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia — or any other of the places that have started mandating that businesses use E-Verify — your efforts to combat illegal immigration will be halted. )

THE MENENDEZ/SESSIONS WRESTLING MATCH

Thursday night on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Sessions (R-Ala.) tried to “hot-wire” a Senate bill re-authorizing E-Verify. This is a procedure that if nobody is on the floor to object, you can get a bill through. It is supposed to be for non-controversial bills. Sessions’ point was that it shouldn’t be controversial to simply continue this proven E-Verify program.

But Sen. Menendez stood up to object, saying that H.R. 6633 (the House-passed re-authorization) was better than the Senate one Sessions was offering.

Sessions then said that was fine and that he was changing and offering H.R. 6633.

At that, Menendez suddenly turned on the bill he had been extolling and said he wouldn’t allow a vote on E-Verify unless the Senate agrees to add another 550,000 permanent greencards to the 1.1 million already slated for next year! He offered his bill with that surge, and Sessions stood firm saying “NO WAY.”

This is what we have known about Menendez from the backrooms for some time, but it is the first time Menendez has exposed himself so clearly and publicly.

We cannot allow the enemies of America’s workers to blackmail us. Even though E-Verify is essential in the fight against illegal immigration, we still have to be willing to let it die this week rather than allow massive increases in permanent foreign workers.

No, I am not being stubborn instead of practical.

Consider that the point of E-Verify is to protect American workers — and communities — from too many foreign workers.

Does it make any sense to get E-Verify passed by giving away hundreds of thousands more U.S. jobs to other foreign workers?

The point of our fight is to protect American workers and communities.  E-Verify is the best tool going (although Congress needs to make it mandatory for it to really start pushing millions of illegal workers to go home). But we will have accomplished nothing by re-authorizing a voluntary E-Verify while flooding American occupations with another 550,000 foreign workers through Menendez’ bill.

ROY BECK is CEO & Founder of NumbersUSA

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September 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments