No Progress on Immigration Reform in 109th Congress; Report Released on Immigration Legislation and Issues
The 109th session of Congress ended in December with no progress on major immigration reform legislation or on the Securing Knowledge, Innovation, and Leadership (SKIL) Act of 2006, which was intended to provide visa shortage relief for key foreign nationals working in the U.S. As noted by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in a detailed report, security concerns figured prominently in congressional debates this past year, and immigration enforcement remains on Congress’s agenda. Additional action is possible early in 2007 when appropriations bills will be considered.
The CRS’s report discusses limited provisions that were enacted on temporary and permanent employment-based immigration and other issues. The report is available at www.fpc.state.gov.
Meanwhile, sources said Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the new chairman of the immigration subcommittee, plans to put forward a new version of an immigration bill early this year. The bill is expected to contain many of the components of the failed measure Sen. Kennedy sponsored last year, including a legalization provision for undocumented workers, which the AFL-CIO says should be dropped.
Also, according to sources, a coalition including immigration advocates, the Service Employees International Union, and business lobbyists recently agreed on another provision to require employers to verify the work authorization of new hires. The coalition does not want to require employers or workers to pay for verifications and would require certification that the system is workable.