US congress to debate immigration bill
The United States Congress has started formal consideration of a sweeping immigration reform bill that creates a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, including Caribbean nationals.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to finish work on the bill this week adopting Republican amendments aimed at stronger border security.
The immigration bill requires the US federal government to gain almost total control of the border, authorising money for drones, Customs and Border Protection officers and prosecution of illegal entries.
Under the bill, new guest worker programmes would be established, particularly for low-skilled workers, and employers would be required to verify the legal status of all employees.
In exchange, Caribbean and other immigrants now in the US without legal status would be eligible for provisional status if they pay fees, fines and taxes.
They could gain legal residency 10 years after the border was declared secure and be eligible for citizenship after 13 years.
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