Two immigration reform bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate will likely be included in the comprehensive immigration reform discussions currently underway in Congress. One is a “carrot,” providing additional visas for foreign investors, and the other is a “stick,” providing enhanced verification of workers’ employment authorization.
On January 30, 2013, Senators Mark Udall (D–CO) and Jeff Flake (R–AZ) announced their intention to reintroduce the bipartisan Startup Visa Act. The proposed bill would create an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States. Under this proposal, immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign graduates of U.S. universities could apply for a two-year visa on the condition that they secure financing from a qualified U.S. investor and can demonstrate the ability to create U.S. jobs.
On January 31, 2013, Senator Charles Grassley (R–IA) introduced S. 202, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act of 2013. This bill proposes to expand the use of E-Verify, a voluntary internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the employment eligibility of their workers by comparing information reported on an employee’s Form I-9 to information in databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The Act would make use of the E-Verify program mandatory for all employers, allow employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired, and require employers to check the status of all current employees within 3 years. Moreover, employers would be required to terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify.
Additional immigration-related bills are expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, consisting of additional “carrots” and “sticks.”