White House takes suggestions from business on immigration changes

White House takes suggestions from business on immigration changes

In addition to reviewing the deportation system of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the Obama administration is weighing executive actions to change the legal immigration system in ways that could benefit businesses, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In more than 20 meetings this summer, White House and other administration officials have recruited suggestions from industries like technology, agriculture and construction.

High-tech firms, in search of ways to increase the number of skilled foreign workers that can come to the U.S., have pitched the idea of excluding workers’ spouses from the 140,000-per-year visa cap. They would also like to see the government “recapture” unused green cards from previous years, which could add more than 200,000 new green cards to the system, the Journal reports.

While people from the agricultural movement aren’t pushing for aggressive executive action for fear of further alienating Congress on the issue, some still see a way the administration could help. Kristi Boswell, who is the director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau, told the Journal her members would like to see the administration direct its focus away from efforts to seek out and deport illegal workers that could cause “instability” for farmers.

And a representative for construction companies, Houston attorney Alberto Cardenas Jr., said that if the administration grants work permits to some immigrants in the country illegally, they should be required to work for legitimate companies so that the underground companies that pay in cash have less sway over workers.

“The president has not made a decision regarding next steps, but he believes it’s important to understand and consider the full range of perspectives on potential solutions,” White House spokesman Shawn Turner told the Journal in an email.

Those groups were actively involved in crafting the Senate immigration bill that passed in June 2013, but have been similarly stymied by the gridlock in Congress on the issue.

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