Oct 25 2007
Senate Includes Key Immigration Amendments in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill
On October 23, 2007, two immigration-related amendments were added to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill in the U.S. Senate. The first of these, the Grassley-Sanders amendment, adds an additional fee of $3,500 to the H-1b visa program. This additional fee would be used to create a special education fund to support students in the fields of math, science and engineering. The second amendment, the Schumer-Hutchison amendment, calls to increase the amounts of domestically located nurses and physical therapists by recapturing unused green cards from the years 1996 and 1997. This amendment, before being passed by voice vote, was added to by a second-degree amendment.
The Durbin second-degree amendment would aim to increase the amounts of nursing students and teachers in the U.S. and would create $1,500 fee for recaptured green cards from its first tier counterpart amendment. This second-degree amendment would also require that petitioning healthcare workers attest that they have satisfied any outstanding work commitments to work in their home country.
These amendments have now been included in the Senate’s current version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. They now will need to be reconciled with the House’s version of that same bill. If reconciliation happens on these amendments, the full bill will then be sent to President Bush for ratification. However, Bush has noted that he may veto the bill because it exceeds the budget he outlined by nearly $9 billion.