While many Illinois residents have been concerned about Trump’s stance on immigration, a Republican-proposed immigration reform bill does not include any provisions that would allow the funding of a border wall. Senators Ron Johnson and John McCain and Representative Ken Buck are sponsoring the bill. It would allow each state to establish its own guest worker program. The bill is meant to address the tightening labor market in the U.S. along with the problems that are caused by the caps and requirements for H-1B and H-1A visas. An immigration attorney may help employers secure the visas that they need so that they can get the foreign workers who are needed to fill open positions.
Currently, the federal government places an annual cap on the number of foreign workers who can work in the U.S. who are highly skilled. In 2017, the cap was 85,000 workers, and those spots were filled within a few days. Employers such as farmers who need unskilled laborers have an even more difficult time getting the workers that they need. It is extremely difficult to get H-1A visas for migrant farm workers, making the program almost useless for farmers. At the same time, U.S. employers are having trouble finding the workers that they need among the U.S. population, forcing them to leave positions open and unfilled.
What the Bill Would Do
The bill sidesteps many of the problems that lead to political wrangling in Washington, D.C. Called the State-Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017, the bill would allow each state 5,000 visas that could be granted to foreign workers regardless of their level of skill. States that didn’t want to participate wouldn’t have to do so. The federal government would be limited to conducting health and security checks on the people who would be granted visas. The bill would also limit the visa holders to working within the state that granted them their visas unless the state had an agreement with another state to accept each other’s visa holders under the program.
The workers would also have to post $4,000 bonds that would be returnable to them when they leave in order to prevent them from illegally working somewhere else.