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Senators eye higher visa fees to pay for border security, other parts of immigration bill


FILE: Jan. 28, 2013: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., part of a bipartisan group of senators working on immigration reform, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. (AP)

The bipartisan group of U.S. senators working on immigration-reform legislation is considering higher visa fees and fines to offset the cost of expensive provisions in the bill, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The framework of the bill calls for additional border security, a system to track people when they enter and exit the U.S. on visas and improved employment-verification systems, The Journal reports.

Those involved in the Senate discussions say there are two clear places to find revenue: Higher visa fees from businesses that want to bring highly skilled workers to the U.S. and fines on undocumented immigrants now in the country who choose to pursue legal status.

However, such an approach could spark a backlash from businesses and immigration advocates.

The Senate effort is expected to make more visas available to companies that want to bring skilled workers to the U.S. It now costs between $1,575 and $5,550 in fees to obtain the most popular of those visas, the H-1B visa, and that's before taking to account the fees companies pay lawyers to file the applications. The senators expect to unveil in early April

To read more from The Wall Street Journal, click here: