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While DACA Leads the News, Proposed H-1B Changes Vie for Attention

The end of last weekend’s government shutdown has put immigration reform centered on DACA in the middle of our political discourse. The question of what legislation President Trump will sign is the subject of one debate, and what proposals the House of Representatives would genuinely consider is another. While Dreamers, border security, the diversity visa and family migration are the foremost topics of conversation, an interesting separate one is going on.

Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake have authored The I-Squared Act of 2018, which would increase the number of H-1B visas and make other changes to the H-1B program. Among other things, the baseline cap would start at 85,000 (up from 65,000) and go up as high as 195,000 in high-demand years. It would expand work authorization and implement actual wage requirements for the spouses of H-1B recipients, and do away with limits to the number of immigrant visa recipients that could come from a given country (for those with employers who are willing to sponsor them for permanent residence). H-1B visas are popular ways for employers to bring in skilled workers from other countries for a prescribed period of time, and the act makes it more attractive and more flexible.

Under normal circumstances, this act would almost certainly pass through the Senate and have a good chance in the House. With another immigration-related debate trying to take shape right now, the future of The I-Squared Act of 2018 is far less certain.

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