Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senate committee to take up family visa issue

The policy over the issuing of visas is a key component of new immigration laws that are being debated in Congress.

The Senate Judiciary Committee continues debating more than 300 amendments to a comprehensive immigration bill. One big issue is still to come: the sticky topic of family visas.

Currently, about two-thirds of legal immigrants are family members of legal U.S. residents.

The Senate bill makes employment visas a higher priority and creates a point system making it more difficult to obtain family visas. It would completely eliminate sibling visas 18 months after the bill's passage. There would be no visas offered to children who are married and over the age of 31.

Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono has introduced several amendments to ease family visa restrictions. They are expected to be taken up Tuesday or Wednesday. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont says the committee could finish its work on amendments by the end of the week.

Over on the House side, the so-called "Gang of Eight" isn't expected to unveil its version of immigration reform until Congress returns to work after the Memorial Day recess.

blog comments powered by Disqus