Warner, Kaine speak on immigration reform proposals

congressU.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are joining bipartisan efforts to push immigration reform in a Congress that has been reluctant at best to move on the issue.

Warner on Monday joined a group of 10 senators introducing the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 to bring reforms to the nation’s immigration laws for highly-skilled immigrants working in the science and technology fields. The proposal will increase the number of temporary visas that are available to these highly-skilled immigrants, so more can remain in the United States and contribute to U.S. innovation and economic growth.

This new bill complements Sen. Warner’s efforts to provide green cards to foreign-born, U.S.-educated students and entrepreneurs through The Startup Act, which he introduced in 2011 and 2012.

“Major employers have more jobs than they can fill with highly-trained Americans. These commonsense and overdue reforms to our high-skill immigration system will help promote innovation and economic growth across Virginia and across America,” Sen. Warner said. “Our bipartisan bill reflects the growing consensus that major reforms are needed to keep the best and brightest students and skilled workers, particularly in the fields of science, technology, math, and engineering, here in America.  I am advocating for the inclusion of this proposal—and STEM green cards– as part of the comprehensive immigration overhaul currently being discussed in Washington.”

The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 focuses on three areas vital to ensuring the United States can attract the type of workers needed to grow its economy:
·       the quantity of employment-based nonimmigrant visas (H-1B visas), allowing for their growth depending on the demands of the economy.
·       increased access to green cards for high-skilled workers, expanding the exemptions and eliminating the annual per country limits for employment based green cards.
·       reforms to the fees on H-1B and green cards so those fees can be used to promote American worker retraining and education.

Kaine is on board with the effort.

“I am heartened by the bipartisan approach to immigration reform that’s been forged by my colleagues in the Senate,” said Kaine. “I believe immigration is fundamentally a question of talent. Any attempt to improve our immigration system should strive to attract and retain the most talented people in the world who will help build a 21st century economy.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in support of a comprehensive approach that increases security along our borders, reforms an outdated visa system, and creates a rigorous but achievable pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants,” Kaine said.

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