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Berman Israeli Visa Bill Passes House, 371-0

by Jonah Lowenfeld

March 21, 2012 | 12:12 am

Congressman Howard Berman

A bill sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys) that would make it easier for some Israeli investors in U.S.-based businesses to move to the United States to oversee those businesses passed the House of Representatives on March 19 by a margin of 371-0.

Berman’s bill will extend to Israeli investors the ability to apply for an E-2 investor visa, which is today available to investors from more than 75 other countries—including Britain, Montenegro, Iran, and the Republic of Togo.

A companion measure is being considered in the Senate.

What accounts for the wide margin of this bill’s passage?

KPCC’s Kitty Felde noted that it might be important for lawmakers to burnish their pro-Israel credentials in an election year (and seriously, the only other bill that I can think of that recently passed through a legislative chamber in Washington by a unanimous vote was the Senate bill calling for tougher sanctions on Iran).

But the other reason for the overwhelming support for Berman’s bill lies in just how unobjectionable the measure is. I reported on the bill in February, around the time it was first introduced. Back then, an immigration law expert called it “a tiny little fix” to the immigration visa system.

More than 25,000 E-2 investor visas were issued in 2010, according to E2VisaReform.org, a group that tries to “highlight problems facing E2 Treaty Investor Visa holders.”

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