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Congressional Immigration caucus pushes for reforms of visa laws

A group of lawmakers is pressing for stricter standards for those entering the country and expanded monitoring of those allowed in.

The Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus issued a package of proposals last Tuesday, including creating a unified border patrol agency and creating a database to monitor those entering and leaving the country and those here on student visas.

The caucus, which consists of 29 Republicans and one independent, also wants a moratorium on new immigration until a backlog is whittled down and new security measures are in place.

“The defense of our nation begins with the defense of our borders,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., chairman of the caucus. “Immigration reform and border security must not continue to take a back seat in Congress.”

The caucus also called for:

-strengthening border patrol efforts;
-adding more offices to screen visa applications;
-abolishing a “diversity visa” program that grants visas to immigrants from states that have sponsored terrorism;
-establishing an electronic means to check immigration documents;
-requiring those wishing to change their immigration status to return to their country to complete the process;
-prohibiting asylum grants without a security check;
-removing immigrants in the country despite pending deportation orders.

Two provisions backed by the caucus, which would deny entrance to individuals who have supported terrorist groups or organizations hostile to the United States, and which would create a unified database to check visa applicants’ records were included in the Patriot Act which the House passed last week.