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Immigration Reform Bill Amendments to be Voted by Senate

May 24, 2007

Temporary Worker Program Down to 200,000 Visas

After another day of often-heated exchanges over the plan that would bring the largest changes to the nation's immigration system since the 1986 amnesty program, the amendment to reduce the temporary worker program to 200,000 "Y-visas" passed 74-24, over strenuous opposition from White House officials. The original proposal for a temporary worker program was to provide between 400,000 and 600,000 Y-visas per year.

New Point System for Obtaining Visas

The "Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007" would, in addition, create a point system for legal immigration weighing education, English proficiency and job skills over a foreigner's family connections to U.S. citizens or legal residents. 

Other Amendments Expected to be Voted on Today

  • The Coleman Amendment (#1158) – expanding the authority of government entities to inquire about immigration status.
  • The Dorgan Amendment (#1181) – would sunset the Y visa program after 5 years.
  • The Cornyn Amendment (#1184) – would restrict immigration benefits and due process.
  • Signaling the widening national interest in the debate, as constituents across the country digest the 347-page bill, several presidential candidates began weighing on the reform package Wednesday.
  • Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) vowed to try to phase out the point system, calling it "a radical experiment in social engineering" that undermines a family-rich history of immigration in the country.
  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) said she would seek to exempt spouses and minor children from any visa caps, in efforts to shave a backlog in current applications that has kept families apart.
  • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) proposed doubling to 90,000 the annual limit of visas allocated to parents of U.S. citizens.
  • Both former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a top Republican contender, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, called the plan unworkable. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among several of the bill's co-sponsors who sought to preserve it.
  • Today, the Senate will resume the debate once more before recessing for a week in honor of Memorial Day. The Senate has agreed to pick up the debate again in June, when a final vote on the plan is expected.