On May 14, 2013, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee continued to markup S. 774, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This markup focused primarily on Title IV of the legislation, which deals with nonimmigrant visas. The Committee approved 15 of the 29 amendments considered on this day.
Among the amendments approved by the Committee was a proposal meant to improve information-sharing about foreign students. The amendment, offered by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) would require the Department of Homeland Security to transmit information about student visas into U.S. Customs and Border Protection databases.
Two controversial amendments offered by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) were rejected by the Committee. The first would have required the use of a biometric entry and exit data system at ports of entry before the status of aliens who have been granted registered provisional immigrant status may be adjusted to that of lawful permanent residents. The second would have limited the total number of immigrants granted legal status in the ten years after enactment to 20 million and to also limit the total number of nonimmigrant workers granted admission in the ten years after enactment to 10 million. The later was rejected by a vote of 17-1, with Senator Sessions the lone vote in favor his own amendment. The committee also rejected an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would have raised the current 65,000 H-1B visa cap to 325,000.
Through two markups, 61 amendments have been considered with 36 being passed by the Committee. The next markup is scheduled for Thursday, May 16.
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