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Republican members of the US House of Representatives met on 10th July to discuss the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate last month. Many Representatives spoke against the bill.
To become law, the bill must gain 60% support in the House, which is controlled by the Republicans. Republicans oppose the bill because of its central provision; the creation of 'a pathway to citizenship' for many of the 11.5m immigrants living in the US illegally.
Pope Francis has travelled to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa to call on Catholics to be compassionate for economic migrants and refugees. Lampedusa is an Italian island 70 miles off the Tunisian coast. 200,000 Africans have landed there since 1999 and many others have drowned on the way.
The pope said the migrants travel seeking a better place for themselves and for their families. The fact that this was his first trip as pope seems to signal an intention to make the plight of refugees and economic migrants a priority.
The UK's Home Office has released research which shows that half the population of England lives in ‘high migration’ areas. Only 20% lives in areas with 'low migration levels'. The impact of immigration varies according to the level of immigration and the type of immigrant.
There seems to be a greater effect on 'social cohesion' in areas where there has been a recent, rapid growth in immigration. Students and working migrants seem to have no effect on social cohesion and use public services less than the native population.
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Mark Harper, the UK Immigration Minister, has written an article saying that it is 'a misconception' that Chinese tourist visa applicants find applying for UK visas difficult. Mr Harper said that almost 300,000 visas were issued in China in 2012 and that most were processed within 15 days. He said that 99% of applicants said they were satisfied with the service.
However, Chinese travel agent Jason Yap said that the UK must do better. He said that French applications are much easier because French visa applications can be completed in Chinese. He added that UK visas are 50% more expensive.
A Conservative MP, Liam Fox, has called for radical reform of the UK's immigration system. Dr Fox was Minister of Defence but resigned in 2011 after allegations of impropriety. He has since written a book in which he proposes an 'open and shut' immigration policy which would increase the number of skilled worker visas and reduce the number granted to family members of UK citizens and residents.
Dr Fox says that the UK should reform its immigration system to be more like those in Canada, the US and Australia. However, according to the Organisation for Economic Development, the UK already has a system which takes in a similar proportion of working migrants to those in Australia and Canada. It also takes a much higher proportion of working migrants than the US.
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