HEADLINES: Immigration

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The State of Arizona has set up a fund that will use private donations to build a border wall. Beginning during the second Bush administration and continuing in President Obama’s tenure, the federal government has built more than 600 miles of barriers, some designed to keep out cars and others to block individuals from crossing. The congressionally approved construction effort is winding up, but about 82 miles of Arizona’s 388 miles of border remain without a barrier, federal officials say. [New York Times]

Sen. Chuck Schumer is attempting to revive moribund efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration bill. He will hold a hearing next week focused on the economic argument for an immigration overhaul. The change in emphasis capitalizes on an all-consuming focus in Washington on the economy. President Barack Obama spent several weeks in the spring pushing for immigration reform, including a speech that highlighted the economic benefits, but the issue has been overshadowed by budget negotiations and stalled by a Republican-controlled House. [Politico]

Yesterday the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives marked up H.R. 704, the Security and Fairness Enhancement for America Act of 2011, also known as the SAFE Act. Introduced by Representative Goodlatte (R-VA-6), the bill would eliminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, a Department of State initiative that increases the diversity of immigrant arriving to the United States every year. The program provides up to 55,000 diversity visas annually to individuals randomly selected from a pool of entrants who meet education and other work eligibility requirements. [LIRS and Washington Post]

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