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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama: "We will find out who did this, and we will hold them accountable" - President Obama was briefed overnight on the investigation into the explosions at the Boston Marathon, according to a White House official. Obama also directed his administration to provide all the resources necessary to assist those investigating the blasts, which killed three people and wounded more than 140 others.

The President will receive a briefing Tuesday morning from Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, FBI Director Robert Mueller and others, the White House said. has more here. 


Person of Interest's Apartment Searched - Authorities searched a suburban-Boston apartment Monday night into early Tuesday morning in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings which left at least three dead and more than 140 injured, according to reports.
FBI and Boston Police as well as other investigators searched 364 Ocean Ave. in Revere, Mass., which the Revere Fire Department said in a statement was connected to a “person of interest,” according to a Revere Fire Department Facebook post earlier Tuesday. has more here.


Details of Senate Immigration Bill Released - The plan outlines an emphasis on shifting legal immigration towards more skilled workers; sets ambitious goals for surveillance and security along the nation’s southern border; and offers qualifying undocumented immigrants a decade-long process – dependent on external border security triggers -- towards legalization and eventual citizenship in the United States.

Included in the bill are the following provisions, according to a summary memo provided to NBC News:
  • Allow undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States continually since before December 31, 2011 to apply for “Registered Provisional Immigrant Status” if they pay back taxes and $500 in fines, and if they have not been convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors or voted illegally. Individuals with this status can work for any employer and travel outside the country but are not eligible to receive means-tested federal public benefits.
  • After 10 years in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, individuals will be eligible – pending border security measures and a clearing of existing backlogs for legal immigrants – to earn a merit-based green card if they have worked in the United States, demonstrated knowledge of the English language and paid an additional fine of $1000.
  • Allow eligible DREAM act applicants and certain agricultural workers to apply for green cards within five years
  • Regarding border security, the bill would set a goal of “90% effectiveness” – meaning the rate of apprehensions and turnbacks of potential entrants – per fiscal year in the most high-risk areas of the southern border. If that goal is not met within five years, a bipartisan “Border Commission” made up of border state governors and experts will be formed to issue new recommendations on how to achieve it.
  • Allocate $3 billion for increased surveillance and manpower along the country’s southern border and an additional $1.5 billion for fencing.
  • Include a border security “trigger” requiring that no undocumented immigrant can achieve legal “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status until strategies for border security have been submitted by the Department of Homeland Security to Congress.
  • Require an additional “trigger” that prevents those with “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status from becoming eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status until the Department of Homeland Security and the Comptroller General certify that border security strategies are operational and a mandatory employment verification system has been implemented.
  • Create a new “W” visa program to allow non-agricultural temporary workers to come to the United States to work for registered employers.
  • Eliminate family-based visas for siblings of United States citizens as well as the Diversity Visa program while eliminating caps on visas for certain employment-based categories.
  • Use a point system for a new “merit based” visa, of which 120,000 would initially be awarded per year, with a maximum cap of 250,000 annually. Points will be awarded based on criteria including education, employment and length of residence in the U.S.
  • Require an “enhanced E-Verify” system to prevent ineligible workers from taking jobs in the United States. Employers with more than 5,000 employees will be phased in within two years; employers with more than 500 employees will be phased in within three years.
  • Raise the annual cap on H1-B visas for high-skilled workers from 65,000 to 110,000, with provisions to prevent such workers from undercutting American wages. Set a maximum cap at 180,000 such visas.

Concern Grows on Strength of Global Economy - The broad rout in commodities and stocks seen in recent sessions has been triggered by weak data from China and the United States that have sparked fresh concerns about the strength of the global economy's recovery.

A closely watched survey of German economic sentiment added to the worries after the euro zone's ongoing crisis and economic weakness were blamed for a larger-than-expected drop in confidence in Europe's biggest economy.

There was no sign of a complete collapse in sentiment that some economists had feared following the recent bungled bailout of Cyprus and the relief helped shares prune losses.

Gold rebounded more than 1.5 percent after falling to two-year lows and oil cut losses following another sell-off on Tuesday, although shares dropped for a third day as worries over the health of the global economy prevailed. has more here.


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