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Bipartisan US senate group reaches agreement on immigration reform

Lawmakers said Sunday that a bipartisan commission of US senators for immigration reform [JURIST backgrounder] has reached an agreement after labor and business resolved disagreements over the immigration overhaul. Lawmakers are expected to announce the new immigration reforms when Congress reconvenes [Reuters report] next week. There is no final legislative agreement, but lawmakers expect to draft language to include in a new law once the substance is reviewed by the group of eight senators on the bipartisan commission for immigration reform. The US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO [websites] reached an agreement on Friday regarding the guest worker program for immigration reform, allowing the bipartisan commission to proceed with drafting the language for this reform. The bill will provide a way for 11 million undocumented immigrants to become US citizens.

Immigration reform has been a recent focus for the US government. In February a White House [official website] draft immigration reform proposal that would allow immigrants to become legal permanent residents [JURIST report] in eight years was revealed. The plan reportedly would also increase security funding, require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years, and create a new "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa program. If approved for the new visa, immigrants could also apply for the same status for spouses and children who live outside the US. Approved immigrants would be allowed to reside legally in the US for four years, to obtain work and to leave the country for brief time periods. In January a bipartisan group of eight senators, including Marco Rubio [official website], released [JURIST report] a framework [text, PDF] of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that they plan to introduce by March.

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