The Senate yesterday approved, by a vote of 62-36, the Comprehensive Immigration
Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) - the Hagel-Martinez compromise. The bill sets the
stage for a Senate-House showdown as the bill will now have to be harmonized with
the bill (H.R. 4437) passed by the House in December. This real fight will happen
before the Senate-House Conference Committee where the fate of the efforts made
by the Senators during the last four weeks will be decided.
VisaPro readers are aware that during the past few weeks the Senators discussed
over 40 amendments before the bill was approved. The bill approved by the Senate
includes provisions for a temporary worker program, legalization of undocumented
immigrants, increases in family- and employment-based immigrant visa numbers,
and the DREAM Act for relief to undocumented high school graduates. Under the
bill the H-1B cap will increase to 115,000; family-based immigrant visa numbers
will almost double; and employment-based immigrant visa numbers will increase
from 140,000 to 650,000.
We at VisaPro will continue to provide you with regular updates on the fate of
the bill approved by the Senate when it is presented before the Senate-House Conference
Committee for negotiations to harmonize it with the bill passed by the House.
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