Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ted Stevens: Supporting the Immigration Bill

We hadn't been able to find any articles on Senator Ted Stevens view of the immigration bill. But by listening to a recent press conference he held with Alaskan journalists, he clearly explained his full support for the bill.

We find it interesting that his support for the bill has been rather quiet, it is possible that he'd prefer to keep calls from constituents at a minimum.

You can find a link to the audio file HERE.

We have transcribed the Senator's remarks here:

Question: "What's your attitude about the immigration bill."

SENATOR TED STEVENS: I am supporting the substitute, which I think is really a very good one. And I want to emphasize that it is not amnesty. There is no amnesty there. If a person wants to go towards a green card, they have to leave the country and come back in under a quota.
Now, no one seems to be picking that up. All these people are talking about amnesty. Amnesty would only be in effect if someone was here and they're allowed to say here and work towards getting a green card. That is not possible under this bill.

So I do think that people should understand -- we've got two new type of visas. We used to have H-Visas, now they're going to have Y and Z Visas. And the H-2B Visa, which is one that our tourist facilities in Alaska have used will become the Y-2B, and it will be increased in terms of National use from 66,000 to 100,000 people a year. They come in for a specific purpose. They can not become eligible for any kind of green card, they can only come in for a specific job. The employer has to show that they have advertised and no one has responded to the advertisement and they have to have these people to in order to fill their jobs and conduct their business.

Its an annual thing and its limited to how many times you can have that. My memory is you can have it for 2 years, and then another two years ... (Stevens' aside: what's the final limit, does anybody remember?) It has a limit in terms of how many times you can come in as a Y-2B Visa worker.

Question: So that would deal with issues like the roe workers...

SENATOR TED STEVENS: This is important for the fishing where the Japanese buy the roe but they only buy that's been packed by their people because of the cultural way of dealing with them. It also deals with ... I was visited by some people that operate rural hotels and they're only open from May to September. They cannot afford to pay someone year-round salaries. And under the circumstances, they also don't want to be involved in paying for retirement.

These are young people. Young, college-age people mostly, and they can come in from foreign countries and work there for a summer, but there's a limit on how many times they can come in under the new Y-2B. The old H-2B there was no limit -- there's a limit to the number of visas -- but no limit on how many times you could apply for one.

I think that immigration bill is good. A lot of people...again, it's like the FAA bill, misunderstand it. They still think we're talking about the original bill. It's a long way from the original bill. It's a good bill. I really commend Sen. Kyl and Sen. Kennedy, they have put partisanship aside, they've taken time to work with people from both sides of the aisle, and I think they've got a substantial majority and will pass that bill soon after we get back.

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