The White House is currently working to draft a new immigration bill that would allow illegal immigrants to become lawful permanent residents within eight years. There are also components that would require business owners to check the immigration status of new employees. Another addition to the bill would be a new “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa which illegal immigrants could apply for. Applicants would need to pass a criminal background check, pay fees, and submit biometric information in order to qualify. Additionally, the bill touches on enhancing border security and considers implementing a land-border crossing fee while also raising current inspection fees. The draft outlines expansion plans for the E-Verify program. Please stay tuned for further updates on this new bill and visa program as more information becomes available.
MORE ON COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
The steps towards immigration reform continued when President Obama met with “the Gang of Eight”—a bipartisan committee that includes Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham—in late-February. They reiterated their goal to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year. The committee plans to finish drafting the bill in March so that the Senate can debate the legislation in June or July.
On Monday, February 25th, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released hundreds of low-risk, noncriminal people from immigration detention facilities across the United States but did not drop their cases. The action came as a response to upcoming budget sequestration, or budget cuts that are scheduled to begin on March 1st. The cost of detaining immigrants ranges from $122 to $164 per person each day. The released undocumented immigrants are said to have been “placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release,” according to ICE spokesperson Gillian Christensen.
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