Push for family unity in immigration bill

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By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Religious and labor leaders are criticizing plans by senators writing an immigration bill to boost employment-based immigration and limit visas granted to people because of family ties.

On a conference call Wednesday, officials representing the Roman Catholic Church, the AFL-CIO and others said that family immigration is a cornerstone of the nation's immigration policy and that shouldn't change. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says immigration reform should work to unite families, not divide them.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and others involved in writing a comprehensive immigration bill say U.S. citizens should only be able to sponsor immediate family members to join them in the U.S. — not siblings and others as is now allowed. Instead they want more visas for people with job prospects or educational achievements.

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