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On Tuesday the Senate approved by a vote of 79-19 the conference report for the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 2892) that includes provisions extending the E-Verify employment verification system and other visa programs. The House approved the conference report on October 15.
The bill will allocate $137 million to the E-Verify program – which is extended by three years under this bill – for its operation and improvement. In addition, the legislation extends the EB-5 investor visa program, which provides visas to individuals who invest at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise which will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. The visa programs for religious workers and medical students are also extended by this legislation.
Notably, the Senate conference report dropped more stringent E-Verify provisions that the Senate had approved in July. Those provisions would have made the E-Verify and EB-5 programs permanent, and allowed employers to verify the employment status of all employees.
The president is expected to sign the DHS appropriations bill into law.