September 29, 1997
The Administration supports House passage of S. 1198 as proposed to be amended
by the House. The House amendment would: (1) extend authority for the
admission of non-ordained religious workers; (2) provide for the waiver or
reduction of non-immigrant visa fees for certain persons entering the United
States to perform charitable services; and (3) modify the effective date for
certain paperwork changes in the employer sanctions program.
Section 1 extends, through September 30, 2000, the authority to admit certain non-ordained religious workers as special immigrants. The Administration strongly prefers a permanent extension of this program as passed by the Senate; however, given the compelling need to extend this program, the Administration does not oppose the three-year extension provided in the House amendment to S. 1198.
Section 2 requires the Secretary of State to establish criteria by which to waive or reduce non-immigrant visa fees for certain persons entering the United States to perform charitable services. Although the non-discretionary nature of this provision could prove burdensome to the Department of State, the Administration does not oppose this provision, which promotes charitable work in the United States.
Section 3 extends by six months the effective date for paperwork changes in the employer sanctions program. This provision will affect every business in the United States that hires workers. The Administration transmitted legislation to Congress earlier this year to extend this effective date for 12 months in order to allow for a more deliberate regulatory process and adequate time to educate the employer community. Although the Administration continues to support a 12-month extension, the Administration supports the six-month extension provided in the House version of S. 1198.
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