Washington - Today, United States India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) reiterated its support for comprehensive immigration legislation only if significant improvements are made to the bill currently being debated in the Senate. Republicans and Democrats have offered amendments allowing for some noteworthy enhancements.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced an amendment that would change the current legislation to increase the number of parent-based green cards, increase the length of stay for visitor parent visas, and penalize parents who overstay their visitor visa individually, instead of collectively.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced an amendment that would increase the number of points assigned for family ties in the new point-based merit system currently offered in the legislation.

Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plan to advance an amendment that would remove many negative impacts that the bill would place on high-skilled immigrants. Significant improvements include:

> Restoring H-1B cap exemptions for U.S. advanced degree holders and foreign advanced degree holders in science, technology, engineering, and math;

> Eliminating the presumption of "non-immigrant intent" where the bill currently requires H-1B visa applicant to prove that he or she does not intent to stay in the United States permanently;

> Restoring "degree equivalency" so that a candidate would be allowed to receive an H-1B visa with a degree equivalent related to, rather than within, a specific speciality;

> Curbing abuses by limiting large contracting companies, with at least 1,000 employees and a total of 15% or more H-1B employees, to a maximum of 1,000 new H-1B petitions a year;

> Allowing H-1B holders and dependents in the employment-based backlog to file an adjustment of status application earlier, which would allow H-1B dependents to work while waiting for final approval;

> Establishing an employer-sponsored merit based green card system separate but complementary to the bill's self-sponsored merit-based system.

The Kyl-Cantwell amendment may be included within the comprehensive manager's package amendment.

USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri stated, "While I am pleased that Congress will once again debate this very important issue, I still believe a lot more work needs to be done. The Senate should quickly adopt all of these amendments and pass comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible."

USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri is available for interviews and analysis regarding the Senate's revived debate to pass comprehensive reform and how USINPAC will continue its efforts in Congress.



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