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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

TRAVEL PROMOTION PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN BUDGET BILL

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One of the few immigration-related measures to make it in to the Omnibus spending bill soon to go to the President's desk for signature is a section relating to improving the entry process for international visitors to the US. The Discover America Partnership, the travel industry alliance, describes the changes:



  • $40 million for "Model Ports":  This provision provides $40 million to fund a "Model Ports" program at America's top 20 inbound international airports that would streamline the visitor entry process and make it more welcoming to international travelers.


  • 200 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers: The funds allocated for Model Ports also will allow the hiring of 200 new officers to reduce processing times at the top 20 international airports.


  • Establishment of International Registered Traveler (IRT) Program:  This provision requires the Department of Homeland Security to establish an IRT program to expedite the inspection of frequent U.S. and international travelers arriving by air into the United States.  This would increase security by allowing CBP officials to target their attention on lesser-known travelers and bring the U.S. closer to productive negotiations with other governments successfully implementing IRT programs.


  • $26 million for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA): This provision provides $26 million to fund the development and implementation of a fully automated electronic travel authorization system to collect basic biographical information to determine, in advance of travel, the eligibility of a foreign visitor to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  Construction of the ETA is a prerequisite for expansion of the VWP to additional countries such as South Korea and newly-admitted European Union countries.Enhancements of US-VISIT: The $475 million allocated for US-VISIT to improve entry and exit tracking of foreign visitors includes funds for deployment of new fingerprint devices and software to reduce false positives and to begin construction of a biometric exit program at U.S. airports required to allow further expansion of the VWP.


  • $5 million for mobile consular teams: This provision provides $5 million dollars to the Department of State to develop a capability to deploy mobile teams of consular officials to conduct visa interviews for would-be travelers who do not live near a U.S. consulate.


  • $225 million for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI): This provision provides $225 million for WHTI implementation and requires certification from the Departments of State and Homeland Security if WHTI documentation requirements are imposed on travelers before June 1, 2009.  It also conditions $75 million on the departments submitting material to Congress that the technical architecture is sound and privacy issues have been addressed.

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  1. USC's Avatar
    New poll on how the Empire State views illegal immigrants, Rudy and the Senator from Punjab:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/488601/poll_clinton_and_giuliani_lead_in_new.html?page=2

    NYC warns nation not to trust this guy:

    "When it comes to the favorability ratings of the two leaders, Giuliani does not do so well in the city he once led, with 51% giving him a negative rating and just 38% giving him a positive."

    "On the issue of immigration, 55% say the focus should be in enforcing the laws already on the books and 34% that illegal immigrants should be brought into the general population. Immigration is so important to 28% of the voters that they said they would not vote for a candidate if he or she did not agree with them on the issue, even if they agree with them on all of the other issues

    By a margin of 82 to 11%, the voters say that illegal immigrants do more to help the country while on the opposite side of the equation, by a margin of 50 to 35%, the voters said illegal immigrant do more to harm the country than they do to help it, and 64% say they work at jobs that Americans' do not want, while 24% say they take jobs away from Americans'. As to the question as to whether or not the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend public schools, the votes across the state say yes by a margin of 70 - 24%."

    Also BW story. Lifelong Pubs desert party over immigration:

    http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/dec2007/db20071214_881757.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_businessweek+exclusives

    >>>>>The Republican candidates just don't get it," says Maureen Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms in Elba, N.Y. "They need to understand that immigration helps drive economic growth, and that without it a lot of industries are in trouble." Torrey, a lifelong Republican, is now backing Clinton.
  2. matts's Avatar
    Greg, is there any chance that the Schedule A recapture (61000 GC's) amendment be attached to this spending bill.
  3. Dream Act guy's Avatar
    The Senate is poised to vote on the Omnibus bill today according to MSNBC.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22307925/
  4. Sarc's Avatar
    More illegal immigration via the visa waiver program. This is just what we need...NOT.
  5. DAG's Avatar
    It looks like the nursing recapture visa bill was not included in the Omnibus bill. If you go to the Hammond Law Group blog, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Lofgren said they might pass the bill in the first quarter of 2008.
  6. matts's Avatar
    I saw that in HLG yesterday DAG, just wondering when this omnibus was sure to be signed why wasn't the Schedule A recapture amendment attached. The wait seems eternal, when would these politicians learn to differentiate between legal & illeagal immigration.
  7. DAG's Avatar
    matts, its all tied together and anti-immigration people are against all types of immigration regardless if its legal or unauthorized.
  8.           's Avatar
    "why wasn't the Schedule A recapture amendment attached"

    Well the news is that the illegal immigration lobby in Congress spiked efforts to increase legal immigration by adding piecemeal immigration bills to the 2008 Omnibus Approriations Bill.

    http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/news/news.asp?ID=5948
  9. matts's Avatar
    I think Sen Schumer was busy with gun control bill that he forgot about this Schedule A amendment.
  10. Cynic's Avatar
    "Well the news is that the illegal immigration lobby in Congress spiked efforts to increase legal immigration by adding piecemeal immigration bills to the 2008 Omnibus Approriations Bill."

    For some lawmakers no illegal should be left behind. When dream act was introduced and debated this year there was no talk of comprehensive approach. For dems immigration means only illegals, EB folks dems are your worst enemies.
  11. matts's Avatar
    Why don't these politicians work on immigration by splitting them into legal & illegal thereby working out some sensible legislation instead of trying something like a comprehensive which has no fair chance.
  12. b's Avatar
    "EB folks dems are your worst enemies"

    Seems like that way. Only Reps politicians seem to care about EB rightnow.
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