H.R. 3012 on Hold in Senate

Late-Breaking Update

As a further development related to the hold on H.R. 3012, a related bill was introduced in the Senate on December 13, 2011. The related bill, S. 1983, is also entitled the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011. S. 1983 was introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and is cosponsored by Senators Richard Durban (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). S. 1983 would expand the scope of the changes proposed in H.R. 3012 to include certain immigration benefits programs for Irish immigrants. More information will follow. Watch MurthyDotCom and the MurthyBulletin in upcoming weeks.

Many MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers have maintained hope regarding the proposed legislation known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, H.R. 3012. This optimism heightened when H.R. 3012 was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 29, 2011. However, the bill has been placed on hold in the U.S. Senate since November 30, 2011.

Senator Grassley Puts Bill on Hold in the U.S. Senate

As expected, the U.S. Senate was far less receptive to this bill than was the U.S. House of Representatives (House). On November 30, 2011, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) placed the bill on hold. As part of the legislative process, U.S. senators are allowed to request a hold when they do not want a particular bill to reach the floor for consideration. Senator Grassley stated objections to H.R. 3012 as concerns about future immigration flows, as well as the lack of any additional protections for Americans seeking high-skilled jobs, given the current high rates of unemployment.

Procedure After Hold in the U.S. Senate

The Senate Majority leader does not have to follow the Senator’s wishes to place the bill on hold. But, if the request is not honored, this can result in a filibuster on any motion to proceed to consider the bill. A filibuster is a procedure of greatly extended debate or discussion, intended to delay or block a piece of legislation. Some history of this maneuver is available on the U.S. Senate WebSite. It stems from the Senate’s history of permitting unlimited debate. If a senator decides to filibuster, it takes a three-fifths (3/5ths) majority vote in the Senate to force the end of a filibuster.


We at the Murthy Law Firm are always cautious to warn our readers that legislative proposals are simply proposals until they pass both houses of Congress and are signed into law by the President. The politics of immigration are complex, as are U.S. legislative procedures. We will continue to follow the developments of H.R. 3012, in order to share valuable information with MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.