Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:38 pm | < 1Minute Read
WASHINGTON (AP) —
President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation’s immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans’ election-year criticism of the president’s go-it-alone approach to immigration.
Administration officials and advocates said the steps would go beyond the expected relief from deportations for some immigrants in the U.S. illegally that Obama signaled he’d adopt after immigration efforts in Congress collapsed. Following a bevy of recent White House meetings, top officials have compiled specific recommendations from business groups and other advocates whose support could undercut GOP claims that Obama is exceeding his authority to help people who have already violated immigration laws.
“The president has not made a decision regarding next steps, but he believes it’s important to understand and consider the full range of perspectives on potential solutions,” said White House spokesman Shawn Turner.
One of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted that would essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year, advocates say.
The result would be threefold: It would lessen the visa bottleneck for business seeking global talent; shorten the green card line for those being sponsored by relatives, a wait that can stretch nearly 25 years; and potentially reduce the incentive for illegal immigration by creating more legal avenues for those wanting to come, as well as those already here.
Obama’s aides have held more than 20 meetings in recent months with business groups and other interest groups to discuss possibilities, ahead of an announcement about next steps the president is expected to make in September.
The potential for broader executive action ignited flames this week from Republicans in Congress already vehemently opposed to legislation that would increase immigration quotas.