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Latino Daily News

Thursday August 28, 2014

WaPo: Obama Studying Plan to Expand Legal Immigration

WaPo: Obama Studying Plan to Expand Legal Immigration

Photo: Barack Obama (Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama is studying a proposal to double the number of green cards awarded each year, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Two months ago, Obama announced that at the end of the summer he would take executive action to fix - as much as possible - the immigration system, given the inability of the House of Representatives to move forward on the issue.

One of the proposals that several business and immigration advocacy groups have sent to the White House since then includes more than doubling the number of people who may be in this country on employment- and family-based green cards, a figure that is currently limited to 366,000, according to the Post.

“We believe that the theme for the package of changes you undertake administratively should be focused on opening the legal immigration system for more to benefit,” read a letter from a coalition of businesses and immigrant rights groups led by former Connecticut Congressman Bruce Morrison sent to the White House this week.

Although it is expected that some measures Obama may announce will pertain to the situation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, it is possible that he will also try to alleviate the backlog in the legal immigration system, where more than 4.4 million people are waiting for a green card.

When consulted by Efe, a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity would not confirm the information made public by the Post - saying that “the president still has not made a decision regarding the next steps” - and refused to “speculate on how (the president) is weighing all the proposals he has received.”

The proposal cited by the Post is backed by several Latino groups, which the daily did not name, and it would change the way in which the government allocates green cards to immigrants.

According to the limits established by Congress in 1990, 226,000 green cards are reserved for family reunification each year and another 140,000 are allocated to workers in specialized fields.

Activists propose that, instead of counting all the members of a family when green cards are awarded, the government should count only one of them and grant green cards to the rest of the family unit without counting them against the annual cap.

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