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Posts Tagged ‘State Department

Expanded Family Visa Bill in U.S. to Benefit Filipinos

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United States tourist visa stamp on a passport

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure to expand the number of family visas for hopeful immigrants with relatives in the U.S. on Wednesday.

The legislation, which passed 389-15, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration, an issue that largely has been avoided during the current session of Congress because of the political sensitivities involved. The bill, said its sponsor, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, “does encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and help build our economy rather than using the skills they learned here to aid our competitor nations.”

Currently, the State Department issues about 140,000 such green cards a year to foreign nationals working in the United States, often after getting degrees from U.S. universities.

These visas cover relatives like sons and daughters, over the age of 21, of U.S. citizens; spouses and minor children of legal U.S. permanent residents; and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, among others.

The Obama administration in its first two years failed in several major efforts to change immigration law, and this year the issue has largely been off the table, with Republicans making clear that anything suggesting amnesty for those in the country illegally would be rejected.

The approved house bill will now go to the Senate for a vote.

Source: Balitang America | News Channel 8 | KIRO-TV

Photo from Dominica Weekly



U.S. State Deparment and Embassy in the Philippines Issues Travel Warning

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Logo from US State Department webiste

The Embassy of the United States in the Philippines issues a travel warning to all American citizens in or about to travel to the country. The message relays warnings of caution for the following areas:

  • Central and western portions of Mindanao including the Sulu Archipelago due to bombings and sporadic clashes between lawless groups and the Philippine Armed Forces. U.S. Government employees must seek special permission to travel to these areas;
  • Kidnap-for-ransom gangs are active throughout the Philippines;
  • The Philippine government declared a state of emergency for the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, and Cotobato City as a result of election-related violence;
  • Exercise hieghtened caution in public gathering places where events may occur in relation to the May 2010 elections and June inauguration

The warning also encourages U.S. citizens in the Philippines to register with the Consular Section of the U.S Embassy in Manila through the State Department’s travel registration website or visit the Embassy office in Manila. The 24-hour telephone number in Manila is +63 (2) 301-2000.

Source: U.S. Embassy, Manila Philippines