Details of the Senate immigration bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 12, 2013 at 2:34 am •  Published: June 12, 2013
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—People brought to the country as youths would be able to get green cards in five years, and citizenship immediately thereafter.

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HIGH-SKILLED WORKERS

—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 and researchers, multinational executives and athletes, would be exempted from 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.

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LOW-SKILLED WORKERS

—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.

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FAMILY IMMIGRATION

—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.

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EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION

—Within four years, all employers must implement E-Verify, a program to electronically verify 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.



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