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[Congressional Record: October 25, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S10987-S10988]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr25oc00-193]                         
 
                  INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING EMPLOYEES

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it is a privilege to join my colleague, 
Senator Helms, in expressing my strong support for this legislation to 
benefit international broadcasting employees.
  The bill is important for several reasons. A new special immigrant 
visa class will be established to cover individuals working in the 
United States for the International Broadcasting Bureau or one of the 
grantee organizations affiliated with the Broadcasting Board of 
Governors. Included among the grantee organizations are the well-
respected Radio Free Asia, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.
  In creating a special immigrant visa category, we are making a 
concerted effort to address the recruitment shortages plaguing these 
worthwhile broadcasting organizations. This legislation will help to 
attract qualified foreign employees for available positions with the 
international broadcasting industry here in the United States.
  The mission of the United States with respect to international 
broadcasting makes it important for us to be able to attract and retain 
a large number of foreign language broadcasters. They must have a 
unique combination of journalistic skills, including fluency in various 
languages and an in-depth knowledge of the people, history and cultures 
of other nations. To carry out its mission, the Broadcasting Board of 
Governors and its grantees must employ a minimum of 3,400 broadcasters 
and support staff, such as reporters, writers, translators, editors, 
producers, announcers, and news analysts.
  Historically, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has been unable to 
obtain sufficient numbers of U.S. workers with the rare combination of 
skills needed for this mission. As a result, we have had to look to 
other nations to attract the necessary talent.
  No current visa category exists which properly suits the needs of the 
international broadcasting industry. Neither the H-1B nor J-1 non-
immigrant visas are appropriate for the Broadcasting Board of Governors 
to use as a means to recruit foreign broadcasters and support 
personnel. Each of these categories has restrictions which make it 
difficult to recruit qualified applicants.
  This legislation overcomes these problems by adding a special 
immigrant category under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Up to one 
hundred immigrant visas will be available each fiscal year for foreign 
nationals employed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Spouses and 
dependent children will also be able to benefit from this legislation.
  This proposal will provide significant assistance for the 
international broadcasting industry in meeting its goals and 
recruitment needs in providing essential news coverage for many of the 
most dangerous regions of the world. The people employed by 
organizations

[[Page S10988]]

like Radio Free Asia, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are 
exceptionally talented and courageous. They and their families make 
substantial sacrifices, and they put themselves at great personal risk 
to carry out their important responsibilities. These dedicated men and 
women deserve our full support. I strongly urge my colleagues to pass 
this needed legislation.






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