Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Immigration Reform Redux

Early Thursday evening the Senate approved a sweeping immigration reform bill that would create a guest-worker program popular among the American business community, enhance border security, and provide a legal way for undocumented workers to eventually gain U.S. citizenship.

The Senate version of the bill allows up to 200,000 foreign workers to obtain guest-worker permits each year with the option to apply for permanent U.S. residence after four years. The bill also beefs up workplace enforcement, requiring use of an employment verification system and levying up to a $20,000 fine for each undocumented worker hired by an employer.

The Senate bill is in sharp contrast to the heavier-handed approach of the House bill, which does not provide for a guest-worker program, requires a similar employment verification system and imposes fines of up to $40,000 for each undocumented worker hired by an employer.

The two sides will now enter a conference to reconcile differences between the bills.

For a discussion of the Senate bill, see here and here. For a discussion of the impact of immigration reform on construction, see my previous post here.


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