WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, introduced legislation Tuesday to bring long overdue reforms to the nation’s immigration laws for high-skilled workers.
The Immigration Innovation, or “I-Squared”, Act of 2015 focuses on areas vital to ensuring the United States can maintain its competitiveness in the global economy: the quantity of employment-based nonimmigrant visas or H-1B visas, allowing for their growth depending on the demands of the economy while making reforms to protect workers; increased access to green cards for high-skilled workers by expanding the exemptions and eliminating the annual per-country limits for employment based green cards; and reforming the fees on H-1B visas and green cards so those fees can be used to promote American worker retraining and education. The bill was first introduced in the 113th Congress.
View the full text of the bill here: I-Squared Act of 2015
“Our bill is a commonsense, bipartisan approach to help ensure that those who have come here to be educated in high-tech fields are able to stay with their families and contribute to the economy and our society,” Hatch said. “I’m calling on everyone – the President, members of both parties, and stakeholders in the tech community – to support this bill and help make it the first step towards real immigration reform. We must make concrete progress to solve some of the many critical problems facing our nation. I-Squared is an obvious solution to an undeniable need, and I want to work with everyone to get it done now.”
The bipartisan legislation is the result of constant outreach with leaders in the business and high-tech industries.
“This is a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to help ensure the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs get their start in America, no matter where they are born,” Klobuchar said. “We need to move forward on immigration reform for the good of our economy and the good of our country, and I will continue to push for action.”
“America deserves an immigration system that works for our economy, drives innovation, and creates good paying jobs for our people,” Rubio said. “An immigration system for the 21st century will be judged by whether it provides the conditions for both security and economic growth. The reforms in this legislation lead the way to such a system, which I believe we can ultimately achieve after meeting the immediate challenges of securing our borders and improving internal enforcement.”
“The creativity, ingenuity, and determination that immigrants have brought to this country have been a large part of our economic success,” Coons said. “Our immigration system is broken, though, and while I still believe the Senate should come together again on comprehensive immigration reform, it’s important that we make progress in the areas that Democrats and Republicans do agree on, like steps to ensure that the world’s best and brightest do their work here in the United States. Inspiration is a precious resource, and if we want those ideas to be turned into job-creating innovations here in the U.S., we need to ensure those individuals can earn status here.”
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue to push for critical reforms to benefit high-skilled legal immigration and ensure that the U.S. economy has the talent it needs to be competitive in the global marketplace,” Flake said.
“The United States cannot afford to exclude talented immigrants who have the skills, initiative and desire to fuel innovation and economic growth in America,” Blumenthal said. “Welcoming skilled workers and making it easier for them to protect their rights at work must be key components of any comprehensive immigration solution. The I-Squared Act is true to American values and good for the American economy.”
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