Washington, June 15 (IANS) US House Republicans have unveiled a draft immigration bill that would overhaul the country’s legal immigration system, boost border security, overturn rules that govern family separation at the border and provide a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
The draft bill, which was unveiled on Thursday night after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations among moderates, conservatives and House leadership, represents the most concrete step yet House Republicans have taken to tackle immigration even as the party faces long odds for the bill ever becoming law, reports CNN.
The bill, which reflects Donald Trump’s desire to address “four pillars” of immigration, includes $25 billion for border security including the President’s wall, an end to the diversity visa lottery, cuts to family-based visas and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients through a programme that would be a merit-based point system and would allow other immigrants to attain permanent status.
The cut visas would be reallocated to accommodate the new green card system and more employment-based visas.
Still unknown is whether the bill will have enough support in the Republican conference to pass.
Meanwhile, Democrats have also already expressed concerns, CNN reported.
“It’s a pretty terrible bill… Whether they want to call it a bridge or a path to citizenship, I think it’s fake…,” said Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat.
The bill also includes a host of other Trump administration priorities, such as allowing for the lengthy detention of undocumented immigrations awaiting deportation, making it harder for individuals to pursue asylum in the US and several provisions that would require cities to comply with federal immigration enforcement requests and would allow victims of violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to sue the cities where they happened, an attempt to crack down on sanctuary cities.
The bill would also address a growing concern on the border: the separation of parents from their children.
It is expected to be voted on next week, but may still undergo changes, a familiar source told CNN.
If Trump backs the bill, it could propel the measure to passage.
On Wednesday, ahead of the bill’s release, White House aide Stephen Miller told reporters the President was supportive of the effort to find consensus.