Senate Passes Immigration Reform Bill
Friday June 28th, 2013 - 9:57AM W
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WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) with a bipartisan vote of 68-32.
S. 744 includes many provisions that will affect the lodging industry. These include creating a new lesser-skilled temporary worker program (W visa) so the economy can obtain workers when American workers are unavailable; establishing a process to identify, screen, fine and give probationary status to undocumented workers already in the country; and renewing the H-2B returning worker exemption and a statutory wage methodology for the program. The legislation is also meant to be a starting point for creating an effective electronic employment verification system, and it incorporates provisions from the Jobs Originated by Launching Travel (JOLT) Act.
“Today’s Senate vote puts this country one step closer to having a modern, effective immigration system reflecting the needs of today’s economy,” Katherine Lugar, president/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), said in a statement.
Lugar added, “Although today’s vote is an important step, there is much work that remains. We look forward to working closely with the House of Representatives to pass a meaningful immigration bill and address our outstanding concerns.”
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When you hear all the lodging industry projections for the months and years to come, much of the robust growth is forecast to be the result of the expected influx of travelers from China. In what could only be seen as good news for the industry, that expectation moved a little closer to reality when President Obama signed a visa waiver extension for Chinese travelers earlier this month.