(Updated on August 13, 2010 – President Barack Obama signed a bill on August 13, 2010 that provides $600 million in emergency funding to help secure the U.S.-Mexico Border.)  For details please click here.

The following is the article from August 5, 2010:

The Senate passed an emergency border enforcement bill

Surprise… The US government wants more dollars. Last week, the Senate passed an emergency border enforcement bill that provides $600 million for increased security on the southern US border. The $600 million will come from raising fees on staffing companies. The proposed legislation states that the fee will increase by $2250 for each L-1 visa application for companies that employ 50 or more workers if 50% of the workforce is on an H-1B or an L-1. The fee will increase by $2000 for each H-1B application for companies with 50 or more workers with 50% or more in L-1 or H-1B status.That means L-1 fees will now be about $3100 per worker for these firms and the H-1B fees will be about $4200 for regular cases and $5200 for premium processing cases.

Some media reports have stated that the language only applies to foreign-based companies. That is not correct. Also, reports have said that it only applies to companies that have been abusing the program. Many protectionists around here would say merely using the H-1B program in large numbers is like criminal activity, but there is nothing here protecting companies that pay their employees well, treat them fairly and are complying in all respects with the H-1B rules.

Here is the exact language:

SEC. 402. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other provision of law, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2014, the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)) shall be increased by $2,250 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant’s employees are nonimmigrants admitted pursuant to section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of such Act or section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other provision of law, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2014, the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)) shall be increased by $2,000 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant’s employees are such nonimmigrants or nonimmigrants described in section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act.

The Senate bill includes $300 million for 1,500 additional Border Patrol agents, Custom and Border Protection officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel; $196 million for Justice Department programs; $32 million for two more drones; and other money for things like communications equipment and new facilities.

One would hope that paying north of $5000 per worker in H-1B filing fees will quiet some of the critics who argue that the program enables these foreign “job shops” to bring in cheap labor. With the requirement to pay the prevailing wage and this new much higher fee (which cannot be passed to the employee), hiring H-1Bs will be a much more expensive proposition for the larger staffing companies. But somehow I doubt this will quiet the critics because this is not about leveling the playing field. It’s about eliminating the competition.

August 2010