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UNITED STATES – Obama Announces Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Speaking from American University in Washington, D.C. this morning, President Obama laid out some details on the framework for his plan for comprehensive immigration reform. He spoke out against Arizona’s recent controversial immigration law, which in many ways duplicates current federal immigration law, as “ill-conceived.” Obama says a patchwork of immigration enforcement laws by local governments puts huge pressure on local enforcement agencies “to enforce rules that are ultimately unenforceable.” Obama says that such laws put additional pressure on state budgets, create a disincentive to report crimes in those communities, and open the door for discrimination based on race or one’s appearance. In reference to what to do with the estimated population of 11 million undocumented people currently living in the United States outside of the law, Obama’s plan appears to be closely patterned after the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration reform bill that was proposed a few years ago. Specifically, Obama would create a pathway to legal status for these individuals. They would be required to come forward and self-identify, register in a government tracking database, pay a fine, pay taxes, and learn English before they could get in line and earn their citizenship. Presumably, as proposed in the Kennedy-McCain bill, their place in line would be somewhere behind those who are obeying federal immigration law by entering the United States through legal channels.
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UNITED STATES – USCIS Proposes an Increase to the Existing Fee Schedule

Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposed increase to filing fees for most immigration benefits. The announcement was published in the Federal Register and will be open for public comment for the next 45 days. The fee increases are weighted at about 10% across all form types, however, some forms have a reduction in fees or stayed essentially the same. The filing fee for Form I-129, for example, is set to be raised by $5, while the filing fee for Form I-140, Immigrant Visa Petition would increase by $105. The rest of the proposed fee schedule is listed below.
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