New Kansas program would help undocumented immigrants in the US

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A group of Kansas businesses in the US proposes a new program to help undocumented immigrants to be able to stay in the state so they can work in agriculture and in other industries with labour shortages.

The business coalition consists of representatives from various agriculture groups and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The coalition's draft bill explained the details of its proposal which would create a group of immigrant workers that businesses could use after the state certifies a labor shortage in their industries.

Specifically, the proposed program would be for undocumented immigrants who have been in the US at least five years and who have no criminal record. Eligible applicants would also have to demonstrate English proficiency. According to the proposal, Kansas would accept requests from undocumented immigrants, which the federal government would then authorize to continue working in the US. The federal government would in effect allow immigrants who are in the US illegally to work in the US.

Businesses would have to pay a fee of up to USD$5,000, plus an additional USD$200 for each worker, to receive workers from the labor pool. They would also have to follow federal labor standards. According to the coalition, money raised by the fees would go to community groups to help finance English lessons, immunizations and other services.

Critics believe the proposed bill would be unsuccessful and would, essentially, grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Legislators opposed to the proposed bill are currently pushing for a number of different proposals that would instead crack down on illegal immigration.

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