President Obama plans to push Congress to move on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system by proposing the changes in one comprehensive bill, administration officials and lawmakers have said.
The overhaul would include a path for citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, The New York Times reports. The issue is one of the administration's top priorities.
Irish lobbyists will be pushing hard for inclusion of the E3 visa scheme, a 10,000 per year non immigrant work visa program already granted to Australia.
“We will definitely be fighting hard for our undocumented and those who want to emigrate legally," said Ciaran Staunton, President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.
Officials have said that Obama and Senate Democrats will resist efforts by some Republicans to break the changes into smaller, individual issues by separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant workers, and highly skilled foreigners.
Obama's plan for immigration overhaul, which he is expected to lay out in the coming weeks, will "include fines, the payment of back taxes and other hurdles for illegal immigrant who would obtain legal status." The plan "would also impose impose nationwide verification of legal status for all newly hired workers; add visas to relieve backlogs and allow highly skilled immigrants to stay; and create some form of guest-worker program to bring in low-wage immigrants in the future," reports The New York Times.
A bipartisan group of senators have been meeting to write the bill and hope to introduce legislation as early as March, holding a vote in the Senate and House before August.