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H2B extension passed...
Sen Mikulski successfully pushed an exemption for H2B workers. The permannet exemption would have been possible through CIR, but the temporary one was easily passed through a spending bill. Why can't we have a similar exemption (atleast one time) for people stuck in the Green Card/I-1485 Backlog.
They can even put a similar numerical limitation, so visa allocation is predictable. There is a precedent for this as it was done for Permanent Residency couple years ago...
October 18, 2007, 8:00 am
Visa Extension Passes, Averting Crab-Cake Shortage
June Kronholz reports on immigration.
Rejoice crab eaters, swimmers, skiers and anyone planning a vacation in the Hamptons next year. Marylandís Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski said she has won an extension of a program for temporary foreign workers by attaching it to a spending bill passed by a subcommittee she chairs.
The program exempts the workers from existing H2B visa caps if they have held jobs in the U.S. in the past. Seasonal employers have come to depend on the H2B visas and the returning workers, who staff swimming pools, ski lifts, hotels and coffee shops, among others.
Congress set a 66,000 cap on the visas, but agreed to the exemption a few years ago under pressure from employers who said they couldnít find workers domestically. Last year, workers using the exemption far out-numbered those who arrived on H2Bs.
The Maryland crab industry is especially dependent on returning H2B workers from Mexico to pick crabmeat from crabs trapped by the stateís watermen.
That has led Mikulski to try to make the exemption permanent, which means a steady and expanding stream of temporary workers. But that effort collapsed along with last summerís immigration bill, and a temporary exemption from the cap for the returning workers expired last month.
Mikulski said in a statement the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations subcommittee attached another one-year exemption from the H2B cap to the 2008 commerce, justice and science spending bill. The Senate then passed the spending bill. Surprise, surprise: Mikulski chairs the subcommittee.
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