The White House is considering proposals from business and immigrant rights groups that are pressing President Barack Obama to provide hundreds of thousands of new green cards for high-tech workers and the relatives of US citizens and permanent residents, reports The Washington Post.
The behind-the-scenes lobbying comes as Obama prepares to announce a series of executive actions that could include plans to defer the deportations of millions of people living in the country illegally, most of whom are Hispanic, the US daily reports.
Though the efforts to relieve pressure on some of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants are expected to be the centerpiece of the president’s action, the administration also is weighing measures that would streamline the legal immigration system by reducing huge backlogs of foreigners in line for green cards, denoting status as legal permanent residents.
The outside proposals delivered to the White House would more than double the number of people allowed into the country on employment- and family-based green cards from the annual global cap of 366,000, according to estimates from some of the advocacy groups.
“We believe that the theme for the package of changes you undertake administratively should be focused on opening the legal immigration system for more to benefit,” a coalition of businesses and immigrant rights groups led Bruce Morrison, a former congressman from Connecticut, wrote in a letter to the White House this week.
White House aides, who have said Obama will announce his actions by summer’s end, said the administration has held 20 meetings in the past two months to solicit input from stakeholders. But they emphasised that no final decisions have been made.