Senator Grassley’s Proposed Restrictive H-1B Amendment Defeated Today

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began debating amendments to the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced last month by the “Gang of Eight.”

The text of the bill (S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act) can be found at the link below:

Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, floated several amendments that would tighten the rules around hiring temporary workers from abroad under the H-1B program.

One of Mr. Grassley’s amendments would require employers to prove that they would not displace an American worker six months before and after hiring a temporary foreign worker.

On Tuesday, the judiciary committee rejected an amendment offered by Mr. Grassley (by a vote of 2-15-1) requiring the Department of Labor to conduct random audits of companies that hire foreigners on H-1B visas, something the industry balks at.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat from New York, took up the industry’s cause, saying it would be unfair to scrutinize employers who have been accused of no wrongdoing. He went on to suggest that provisions that go “overboard” threaten the prospects of a compromise on the overall bill.

Mr. Grassley did score a victory on a minor tweak to the bill. He wanted employers to have to specify job descriptions and their locations on the government Web site where job openings are posted. The amendment passed by voice vote.

As the committee continues to debate the proposed amendments, we will bring you updates on the status of the immigration bill, and any proposed changes that would effect H-1B and employer based visa sponsorship.