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Immigration officers union opposes Senate bill

This news story was published on May 21, 2013.
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U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) — A union representing 12,000 immigration officers won’t support a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill seeking to overhaul the system, labor officials said.

National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council President Kenneth Palinkas said the bill creates an “insurmountable bureaucracy” within the federal agency responsible for reviewing immigration applications.

Palinkas said the bill will further encourage department heads to press members for quick approval of immigration applications — eschewing in-depth reviews that take more time, The Hill reported Monday.

“The culture at [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” he said in the statement.

The union’s decision comes at a sensitive time for the “Gang of Eight,” the group of four Democrats and four Republicans who crafted a deal they hope will bring on enough senators from both parties to achieve passage in the chamber.

The bill’s markup stage continues in the Senate Judiciary Committee where several potentially sticky provisions have to be addressed. Liberal advocates are pressing the Democratic majority to approve a provision that would allow same-sex couples to seek citizenship for their non-American partners, something Republicans have said would force them to walk away from the deal.

There also remains an outstanding issue regarding high-skilled worker visas, a provision organized labor opposes.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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