Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 00031502 (posted Mar. 15, 2000)"
STRONGLY ENDORSES DREIER-LOFGREN BILL;
WILL KEEP ECONOMY GROWING, EASE WORKER SHORTAGES
D.C., March 15, 2000 — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
today threw its weight behind a new House measure that should help allow the
economy to continue growing at the current unprecedented pace.
legislation, introduced by Representatives David Dreier (R-CA) and Zoe Lofrgen
(D-CA) along with a bipartisan group of 15 other lawmakers, would particularly
help the professional and high-tech sectors of the U.S. economy. The measure
would increase temporarily for
three fiscal years the cap on H-1B visas available to highly educated foreign
professionals who work for American companies, universities and research
institutions. It also hikes the fees paid by employers when they apply for H-1B
Drier-Lofgren bill is needed because the statutory cap on H-1B visas was met
before the end of the last fiscal year; this year’s is expected to be reached
later this month. As a result, for the next six months, U.S. companies,
consumers, students and patients respectively cannot develop and purchase new
products and services, be taught by the best professors and teachers, and
research or use new drugs and medical therapies.
strongly endorses this legislation that provides a short-term solution to the
nation’s shortage of skilled professional workers. We have often said that the
H-1B cap is a cap on our economy. The bill acknowledges that and should help the
economy to continue to grow,” said Jeanne Butterfield, Executive Director of
do have serious concerns about the dramatic increase in application fees. The
$1,000 charge could prevent small businesses, non-profits and government
agencies from using temporary foreign professional workers in ways that benefit
American consumers and our economy. We urge the sponsors to consider exempting
such entities from the increase. Further, any fee increase should result at the
least in timely adjudications.”
noted that the bill also addresses the concerns of some critics by expanding
existing education programs benefiting low-income students; providing
scholarships in math and science; encouraging more math, science and computer
teachers to stay in our schools; and increasing job training and retraining
the Dreier-Lofgren bill should help alleviate the economic harm caused by
long-standing INS and Department of Labor delays by letting certain H-1B visa
holders who have applied for permanent resident status stay here while their
applications are being processed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The consequences of bureaucratic delays should not come at the expense of these
vitally needed professionals.
Dreier-Lofgren bill goes a long-way to providing a limited solution to what such
independent economists as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan see as the
biggest threat to our continued economic growth: the nationwide shortage of
workers. It truly is heartening to see real bi-partisan legislation that
addresses this nation’s economic needs,” Butterfield said.
urge Representative Lamar Smith, Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, and
other lawmakers to join with their Republican and Democratic colleagues to help
us ensure that our economy stays strong by working with Representatives Dreier
and Lofgren in passing meaningful legislation.”