India West, News Report, Sunita Sohrabji
As business leaders roundly cheered a sweeping immigration proposal released last week by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” civil rights organizations voiced concerns about the limitations the new bill would impose on extended family reunification.
The broad-reaching bill — termed “clearly a compromise” by President Barack Obama, who nevertheless expressed his support for the proposal – would significantly increase the numbers of all employment-based visas, whilst narrowing the availability of family-based visas by tightening the definition of who is eligible. Significantly, the measure also creates a long pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented residents.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus praised the bill, but also objected to the elimination of the two family-based visa categories, which currently allow U.S. citizens to sponsor the brothers and sisters and married children over 30.
Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., co-chair of CAPAC’s immigration task force, praised the measure for adding more visas in employment-based visa categories — including higher caps on H-1B visas and foreign students with advanced U.S. degrees in STEM fields – but noted that families must remain at the cornerstone of new immigration legislation.
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