AILA Critical Over Economic Stimulus Bill Inclusion of Sanders H-1B Amendment

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09021330 (posted Feb. 13, 2009)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, February 13, 2009
CONTACT:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org


WASHINGTON, DC - The House of Representatives today passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R.1), a multi-billion dollar set of spending and tax cut programs to help jumpstart the economy. The legislation now moves to the Senate, were Democratic leaders hope to bring it to a vote this evening. Unfortunately, the legislation includes the Sanders H-1B amendment which saddles TARP fund recipients with strict regulations for hiring foreign workers under the H-1B program that are so cumbersome as to amount to an out-and-out prohibition.

"The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is greatly disappointed that Congress chose political expediency over sound policy by allowing this amendment to stand. The misguided signal it sends is that immigrants are part of the problem rather than an integral part of the solution," said Charles H. Kuck, President of AILA. "The stimulus bill looks helpful but is counterproductive when it restricts the financial industry's access to top-flight global talent who can help create jobs for U.S. workers. In many ways, this decision is at odds with President Obama's call that the stimulus legislation shouldn't be shaped by ideological factors, but by 'what works.' For this reason, AILA is deeply disappointed that the final bill included the Sanders H-1B amendment."

At the same time, AILA is pleased that Congress recognized the need to strike the Kingston E-Verify amendment from the final version of the stimulus bill. "On this proposed amendment, Congress did the right thing by striking it. E-Verify is a cumbersome system riddled with flaws and based on inaccurate databases that can all too easily undermine legal U.S. workers' ability to get or keep their jobs," said Kuck. "Congress needs to stop this piecemeal approach to solving America's broken immigration system; what we need now is to develop forward-looking policies and begin a new constructive and rational conversation about fixing the immigration system."

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.