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Senate to conclude debate and vote on Immigration Reform bill today
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The Senate yesterday voted on a strong 73 to 25 vote, to conclude the ongoing debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) - the Hagel-Martinez compromise. The Senators are expected to conclude the debate and vote on the bill today.

As per an excellent summary of yesterday’s proceedings posted by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on their website, the Senate approved an amendment suggested by Senator Byrd (D-WV) that would require any alien receiving a benefit under the bill’s legalization provisions to first pay a $500 fee in addition to the other fees and penalties set forth in the bill.

The Senators also discussed and approved an amendment proposed by Senator Gregg (R-NH) that would reserve two thirds of the 55,000 DV immigrant visas for aliens who hold an advanced degree in science, math, technology or engineering. However, the Senators rejected the amendment proposed by Senator Hutchison (R-TX) that would create a new guest worker program for nationals of NAFTA and CAFTA-DR countries in addition to the guest worker program included in the underlying bill. The program would provide no path to citizenship, and applicants would have to apply from the home country, complete a background check, and, once here, could only stay and work in the U.S. for ten months out of the year, having to return home for the remaining two months.

Before voting on the bill, the Senate is likely to consider the following amendments today:
  • An amendment by Senator Cornyn to strike the bill’s confidentiality provisions

  • Senator Bingaman’s amendment to modify the employment-based visa caps

  • A Sessions amendment to deny certain immigrants access to the Earned Income Tax Credit

  • An amendment by Senator Feingold to restore temporary stays of removal

  • Senator Ensign’s amendment to deny certain immigrants tax refunds or tax credits for tax years prior to 2006
We will update you on the progress of the bill through Immigration News as well as Immigration Monitor, our monthly immigration newsletter. Click here to subscribe to the news updates.

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