$82 Billion Spending Bill Gets Nod

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 4

Congressional negotiators yesterday agreed to an $82 billion bill to fund the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that also includes major border security measures and standards to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining or using driver’s licenses.

However, even as it tightens asylum rules, the bill eliminates caps on several categories for asylum, and increases caps on visas for non-farm temporary foreign workers. It also funds 500 new Border Patrol agents this fiscal year, topping the 210 additional agents President Bush asked for in his fiscal 2006 budget, and includes money for more detention beds than he requested.

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The bill also increases or provides exemptions to several immigration and temporary foreign worker caps. It exempts foreign employees returning to a previous job from the 66,000 annual cap on H-2B non-farm temporary workers—which had been sought by the summer hospitality industry and seasonal industries such as crabmeat pickers in Maryland and Virginia.

The measure also eliminates several caps on asylum seekers, including a 1,000-per-year limit on those seeking asylum from coercive family planning policies, such as China’s one-child policy.

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