NDN/NPI Pleased STEM Fund Amendment Passed On Day Two Of Senate Judiciary Markup

So we are two days into the Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up of its border and immigration bill, S744, and the strong bi-partisan and pragmatic sensibility which helped draft this thoughtful bill continues to win the day. 

Of the votes yesterday, one was of particular interest to us – Hatch Amendment 9, which called for more funding of STEM education here in the US.  The idea is simple – why we need to fill high tech jobs with skilled immigrants today, as a matter of national strategy, it would be better to fill these jobs with Americans.   This strategy will help do that over time, and we are pleased that it passed. 

Of the Amendments we took positions on this week, the following remain to be voted on later this week:

NDN Does Not Support the Following Amendments:

Senator Orin Hatch’s Amendment # 19:  would exempt employers of temporary workers from complying with labor and employment laws.

Senator Orin Hatch’s Amendment # 20 would strike the term “any person’’ and insert the following: ‘‘an aggrieved applicant, employee, or non-immigrant (or a person acting on such person’s behalf).

Senator Grassley's Amendments #73 & #74  would restrict temporary workers (new "W" visa recipients) from renewing their visas, and would require all temporary workers to provide proof that they can and are paying for their own health insurance, which could effectively prevent almost all temporary workers from entering the U.S.

NDN Does Support the Following Amendments

Senator Blumenthal’s Amendment # 13 Would provide whistleblower protections for temporary workers.

Senator Blumenthal’s Amendment # 17 would ensure that workers have the right to a pay stub so that they can prove employment status for the pathway to citizenship.

Senator Schumer's Amendment #5  Would help workers change employers without the risk of losing their visa, and would provide an electronic monitoring system for the program.

Hatch Amendment #10 corrects the current H-1b escalator formula, increasing the number of H-1b visas, job creating U.S. innovators are seeking.

Hatch Amendment #11 leaves in rules regarding the management of the foreign professional, but also do away with attestation, and replace it with a fee that contributes to training U.S. workers.

Hatch Amendment #12 achieves the goal of protecting U.S. job creation AND U.S. workers by stripping out burdensome regulation from job creators.

Hatch Amendment #13 fixes ambiguous standards for job creators by changing language penalizing innovators by not allowing them to hire any foreign professionals for 6 months if they have had net layoffs.   

Hatch Amendment #17 accounts for hiring delays caused by onerous processing applications, improves the system for good employers, by pointing out the practical application of the law.

And you can find our previous takes on the SJC markup process here.