America's House of Representatives has approved tough new immigration legislation on February 11, the BBC reports.
If the bill ever becomes law the following changes will occur:
- It will be easier to deport terrorist suspects.
- States will be required to check if applicants for drivers licenses are in the country lawfully.
- A wall along the border with Mexico will be extended to cover a gap near San Diego, California.
Supporters of the measures say they will disrupt the travel plans of terror suspects, but civil liberties groups claim they infringe on people's rights. Mexican officials are against the wall extension, saying it will have no impact on the flow of migrants.
The bill is expected to face a tough time passing through the Senate. It also goes against the spirit of President George W. Bush's second term immigration plans, which include a "guest worker" scheme providing legal status for millions of people residing illegally in America. Observers expect a compromise to be sought between this proposal and the House bill to allow both to pass into law.
See our US immigration pages for more information on legal avenues to enter America.