by Wynton Hall
Lobbyists for resorts, au pair agencies, and the seafood industry successfully slipped special-interest perks into the Senate immigration bill, reports USA Today. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) successfully fought to include in the bill a $1.5 billion taxpayer-funded set aside for youth jobs programs.
The changes to the bill follow aggressive lobbying by resorts, au pair agencies and other industries that rely on the J-1 cultural-exchange visa program, which allows foreigners to enter the USA through 14 categories, ranging from interns to visiting scholars. The largest number, nearly 92,000 last year, entered as part of the summer-work travel category, federal records show. An additional 18,000 worked as camp counselors and nearly 14,000 as au pairs.Businesses that hire these visa holders save money because they don't have to pay unemployment taxes, Medicare or Social Security. Participants must also have their own health insurance, another cost savings.