The U.S. Senate has passed by unanimous consent the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, which contains provisions that increased
fees for certain employers with a U.S. workforce of more than fifty percent
H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrants. The bill was initially passed by the Senate
on August 5, but because of a constitutional requirement that revenue measures
originate in the House, the bill was sent back to the House, which passed the
measure on August 10. The bill then returned to the Senate for its final
approval. Though the Senate was in recess, it reconvened with just a
few members present. The bill went to President for approval and has been signed
by the President into law.
The new border security bill has been termed as "discriminatory" by
the Indian and American companies, as it raises H-1B and L-1 visa fee mostly
for Indian companies to generate funds for the USD 600 million to secure the
Obama, in a statement, welcomed the passage of the bill after the US Senate
came back from its summer recess for a rare special session on August 12, 2010
morning to approve it by a voice vote. Only two senators attended the short
session: Democrats Ben Cardin and Charles Schumer.
Under Senate rules, only two members must be present if legislation is unanimously
agreed to by all others. The House of Representatives had passed the bill early
To offset the emergency border spending, the proposal would hike fees assessed
on particular companies that exploit two categories of visas. Firms with more
than 50 employees and more than 50 percent of their employees on H-1B work
visas would be affected.
"A handful of foreign-controlled companies that operation in the US, such
as Wipro, Tata, Infosys and Satyamrely on H1B and L visas to import foreign
workers to the US. The Senate Democrats' border security proposal would
increase the visa fees paid by these companies by roughly USD 2,000 per visa
application," said Senator Claire McCaskill.
Obama said that this action by Congress answers his call to bolster the essential
work of federal law enforcement officials and improve their ability to partner
with state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
"The resources made available through this legislation will build upon
our successful efforts to protect communities along the Southwest border and
across the country. This new law will also strengthen our partnership with
Mexico in targeting the gangs and criminal organizations that operate on both
sides of the shared border," Obama said.
"So these steps will make an important difference as my administration
continues to work with Congress toward bipartisan comprehensive immigration
reform to secure our borders, and restore responsibility and accountability
to our broken immigration system," he said.