United States: Historic Immigration Bill Passes Senate But House May Have Its Own Agenda

Last Updated: July 16 2013
Article by Dawn Lurie

Vice President Joe Biden presided over a historic session as the Senate passed its immigration reform bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), last Thursday, June 27, 2013. The White House blog noted, "The Senate's passage of the bill was immediately met with support from bipartisan leaders and a broad spectrum of groups across the country – from Democrats to Republicans, business to labor leaders and clergy." In fact, the bill itself was a culmination of efforts exerted across party lines, industries, trade unions, associations and other unaffiliated groups. The bill moves us a bit closer to the possibility of fixing a broken and dysfunctional immigration system and employers should plan to watch what happens in the House over the next few weeks and take part in the discussion by contacting their Congressional representatives.


Lauded by supporters for providing a path to residency for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., the bill also addresses border security. The undocumented immigrants will be required to undergo a rigorous registration process that will offer Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, putting them at the back of the immigrant visa waiting line but allowing them to stay in the U.S. while they wait. These individuals will pay back taxes and undergo background checks. However, as part of a compromise in the Senate, certain milestones must be met before any of the RPIs may adjust their status to that of a legal permanent resident ("green card" holder). Those milestones include the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) certifying a 90% effectiveness in apprehensions and returns along the United States-Mexico border, having a phased-in E-Verify program in place, increasing the number of border patrol agents, and completing additional border fencing. Specifically employers nationwide will be required to use the E-Verify program determine the work eligibility of their employees. The Border Patrol force will be nearly doubled with the addition of 20,000 agents. Security will also be increased with the construction of 700 miles of border fencing and the implementation of several high-tech security measures at the border and in airports.

Highlights of S. 744 for Employers

Non-immigrant (temporary visas)
The legislation increases visa caps in multiple categories but at the same time adds more restrictive guidelines for certain categories including the L-1 visa. Changes to the H1-B (professional worker) visa program, include an immediate increase in the visa cap from 65,000 per year to 115,000 for the first fiscal year after the date of enactment and then increases up to 180,000 depending on market demand. A nice perk added is open work authorization for spouses of H-1B workers provided we have a reciprocity agreement in place. The bill also increases fees and limits the number of overall H-1B and L-1 visa holders a company can hire. For those following the guest worker debate, the W visa category may provide relief to employers. The W visa will provide from 20,000 to 200,000 visas for low-skilled nonagricultural workers that would fluctuate yearly. Also, a new agricultural worker visa program would allow certain existing agricultural workers to receive residency after continuing to work in the industry for five more years. Another new nonimmigrant investor visa, the X visa, will target entrepreneurs who raised at least $100,000 in investment, or who created no fewer than three jobs during a two-year period prior to the application and generated $250,000 in annual revenue.

Immigrant (Permanent Residence)
The future immigration portion of the bill establishes a merit-based point system that awards points to immigrants with educational credentials, work experience, and other qualifications. It also recaptures unused visas. This will augment, not replace, the current employment and family based categories. Physician access should be increased, as the J-1 visa waiver for those who work in medically underserved areas is made permanent. The EB-5 classification benefited from a few tweaks including exempting spouses and children from the 10,000 annual cap, designating Targeted Employment Areas for a five year period and allowing for concurrent filing of an investor petition and an adjustment of status application for investors who are already in the U.S. in a valid non-immigrant status. The bill also creates a companion to the EB-5 visa, the new EB-6 immigrant investor visa category. This visa will allow entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residency if they have a significant ownership in a U.S. business and have had a significant role in the start-up of the business. The immigrant's investment must create at least five jobs and must receive at least $500,000 in venture capital or investment, or create five jobs and generate $750,000 in annual revenues in the prior two years.

What is Next?

While the bill's passage through the Senate was a victory for immigration reform supporters, the bill still has a long battle ahead before being implemented into law. The White House and the Gang of Eight are urging the House to adopt the bill, but it is already facing significant resistance from House members who are currently working on their own immigration bill. House Speaker Boehner stated that the House will continue working on the immigration bills they originated and already have in committee. In response to questions about whether the Senate bill would pass through the House Boehner responded, "The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We're going to do our own bill, through regular order."

If the House and Senate pass the same bill, then it will be sent to the President to be signed into law. However, based on the Speaker's statements it is likely that the House Judiciary Committee will first take up the immigration legislation and the Senate's bill will not be immediately adopted. If the House and Senate pass different bills, then the bills will be sent to Conference Committee. Like most major legislation, it is likely that the immigration bill will go to a Conference Committee to work out a compromise and memorialize it in a conference report. That report must then be approved by each chamber. Only then can President Obama be given the opportunity to sign comprehensive immigration reform into law. It will be important to watch the timing as Congress adjourns for August recess. Observers are concerned that immigration reform will lose momentum as Congress may be preoccupied with other items and focused on the upcoming mid-term elections when they return. It is important for employers to review the highlights of the bill, as well as the carve outs and the possible amendments. It is critical for employers to become an active part of the dialogue by contacting their representatives to ensure their concerns and requests are included in the debate.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
17 Oct 2019, Seminar, San Diego, United States

Please join us for Sheppard Mullin's Labor & Employment Law Update & Happy Hour Seminar Series. There are many new developments in California labor and employment laws that will significantly affect the way you run your day-to-day business operations.

22 Oct 2019, Roundtable, Los Angeles, United States

Please join us for Sheppard Mullin's Ethics and Eggs: A Breakfast Roundtable to Discuss Ethics Issues in IP Matters.

23 Oct 2019, Other, Dallas, United States

Marketing Wants To Do What? Sweepstakes, Influencers, Loyalty, and Other Advertising and Promotional Fun

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions