The Republican-controlled House of Representatives needs to approve immigration reform by the end of 2013, President Barack Obama said Tuesday before a meeting with business leaders at the White House.

"So this is something that has strong bipartisan support. Keep in mind that my predecessor, George W. Bush, was a strong supporter of this. We have a fascinating cross-section of people - some unlikely bedfellows, some very liberal folks, some very conservative folks - who all believe that now is the time to get this done," he said.

Britain has scrapped a plan to force people from India, Pakistan, and some African countries to hand over a cash deposit in return for a six-month visa, after the policy caused outrage at home and abroad and exposed a divide in the governing coalition.

The government’s plan involved visitors from Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka being forced to pay a £3,000 (US$4,800) deposit in order to receive a visa. The money would be refunded when the person left the country upon expiration of their visa. The plan was intended to serve as a deterrent to overstaying.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said he thinks at least half of the House Republican caucus will support immigration reform and believes legislation can be enacted before the end of the year.

"To me, doing nothing is not acceptable," Upton told a Rotary Club meeting last week, according the Kalamazoo Gazette. "I do believe that we'll have at least half our caucus for it."

On Wednesday, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) became the third House Republican to support an immigration reform bill introduced by Democrats, helping to build momentum for a vote by the end of the congressional year. Valadao’s support follows two other House Republicans, Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) both of whom said earlier this week that they would support the bill as cosponsors.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives ready to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, but she may never get the chance to prove it if GOP Speaker John A. Boehner doesn’t bring a vote in the Republican-lead House.

“With 28 Republicans having publicly expressed support for a path to citizenship, we believe the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s just a question whether Speaker Boehner can muster the will to schedule a vote.”

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has announced the 2014 Diversity Visa requirements for the lottery winners who were notified by the Department of State of their selected status in May, 2013.

To qualify for the 2014 Diversity Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

Mr Robert Simiyu with his wife Lucy in Houston, Texas. Photo/CHRIS WAMALWA

It is a particularly beautiful Sunday evening in the lush suburbs of Houston, Texas, as small groups of Kenyan families arrive in their posh cars at one of their compatriot’s home for an evening out.

Ordinarily, such meetings, which are regular fixtures, would just be for sharing an evening together and catching up. But the gathering on this particular Sunday has greater significance.

The previous evening, some members of this group had hosted one of the most successful and well-attended meetings in recent memory: the first annual Mashujaa Awards ceremony.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Please have a seat, everybody.  Good morning, and welcome to the White House.  Today I’m here with leaders from business, from labor, from faith communities who are united around one goal -- finishing the job of fixing a broken immigration system.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said President Obama firmly believes he can sign an immigration reform bill into law by the end of the year.

"The president made clear that he firmly believes we can get comprehensive immigration reform through Congress and on his desk by the end of the year," Carney told reporters.

He brushed aside doubts that a bipartisan consensus can be reached on overhauling the nation's immigration laws with partisan tension running high in the wake of the government shutdown in Washington.

The government is warning the public that applying for a US Green Card Lottery is not a guarantee to winning it.

Foreign Affairs Political and Diplomatic Secretary Robert Ngesu says his office is concerned with the increasing number of Kenyans getting into “both mental and financial distress” after missing out on the Green Card lotteries.

Mr Ngesu said on Wednesday that a number of Kenyans have been calling in only after “incurring heavy expenses” on medical examination as well as paying huge amounts of Visa fees which are not refundable.

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