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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Senate negotiators have apparently reached agreement on the
terms of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Though a bill has many
hurdles to pass, this agreement represents perhaps the most important
benchmark. While Democrats and the President have largely been on the same side
and the Democrats' gaining control of the Senate and the House of
Representatives is seen as crucial, the minority party in the Senate still has
the power of the filibuster and can stop legislation from moving forward if the
majority has fewer than 60% support. There is no such legislative tool in the House
of Representatives and passage of an immigration bill is seen as more likely in
that body.>

The compromise measure will likely make many stakeholders in
the pro-immigration and anti-immigration communities uncomfortable. While most
of the bill will likely resemble last year's Senate Bill 2611, there are a
number of significant changes, including a massive change in the way family
immigration cases are handled.
According to today's Washington Post, among the items agreed
to by the Democratic and Republican Senate negotiators are the following
(though we have not independently confirmed what the lace w:st="on">



  • a legalization program for those illegal aliens who arrived
    before January 1, 2007. Such individuals will immediately be eligible for a Z
    visa and the Z visa will be renewable indefinitely. Within 8 years, the alien
    must pay a $5000 fine. The visa can be converted to permanent residency if the
    head of household applies within 8 years and departs the lace w:st="on">


    to collect
    the visa at a consulate. There will also be a filing fee for a Z visa, but it's
    not clear what it will be yet.

  • There will be a guest worker program with a number set at
    400,000. The visa will be valid for two years at a time and renewable up to
    three times but only via application at a consulate. The guest worker program
    will not be implemented until various triggers are met including implementation
    of various border and worksite enforcement measures (such as hiring 18,000 new
    Border Patrol agents and implementing a new electronic employment verification
    system). To get a green card, applicants will need to go through the existing
    employment-based, family-based or the new points-based immigration system.

  • >The family immigration system will be modified and
    supplemented by a new point system. Immediate relative cases and the Family 2-A
    green card categories would remain untouched, but adult children and sibling
    categories will be rolled in to a new point system where family relationships
    will garner applicants' points and points will be available for other factors
    such as English language proficiency, job skills and educational credentials. It
    is not clear yet what happens to people currently in line.


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  1. Sue Ward's Avatar

    What can I say ? or rather where do I begin

    The current immigration system is broken, we all know that but what many USC do not know is just how bad the immigration systome is for legal immigrants, who invest heavily and employ many , work hard and never break any laws yet treated in such a terrible fashion

    In the USA there is a humanitairn Soceity which only applies to USC and people who seek asylum. In fact dogs are treated better than legal immigrants

    There is a neglected group of children who have no status upon reaching 21 years old which is fixable. There needs to be an amendment to the CSPA to include these children and allow them a pathway to become a LPR

    Every other child on a visa does have a pathway to green card as will iilegal children if there is some sort of amnesty.

    There is a glimer of hope for some of these E 2 dependant children as Heather Wilson of new Mexico has just issued a press release to amend the E visa from a non immigrant to immigrant visa, subject to conditions, but only limited to 3000 per year

    Compassion is needed in the USA for visa holder's who pass away, there spouse can inherity the business, pay tax on the inheritance, bury their partner, go to probate, but have their work autho and visa status cancelled upon the death of their loved one

    We at urge you to join together to petition for a compassionate visa on a case by case basis subject to documentary evidence.

    If someone living in the us is diagnosed terminal, their close relatives abroad would just jump on a plane to be with them. If they are from a visa Waiver country can only stay max 90 days, they should be able to extend and not have to leave the usa

  2. Deb's Avatar
    This is called a grand bargain? what a shame!
    I am legal immigrant with a master's degree, work in high tech engineering, pay my taxes, follow the laws and dutifully standing in line to wait my turn. I cannot change jobs, bring family and wait years to get a green a card due all kinds of idiotic rules and quotas.
    This compromise grand bargain will regularize all illegals immediately. They can get at least some form of legal status. How? breaking the laws and just by influencing shameless latino vote bank politics.
    All this while legals are kicked again in their backside for following the law and Senators and president grandstanding: 'We are a nation of laws'.
    Just on a personal note, my parents were denied travel visas twice when they tried to visit me. And to think all illegals will get a legal status for all their spouse, dependents and even parents if they are in the country illegally.
    What a joke!
  3. Belle's Avatar
    As a legal immigrant myself, and someone who has jumped an enormous number of immigration hoops, I understand where Deb is coming from, but I do not share her outrage with the proposed bill. First, I don't think Deb has familiaried herself well enough with the content of the bill (or any of the previous versions) to state that the bill does nothing for her and everything for the illegals. Second, regardless of how frustrating our situation is, as people legally in the US, Deb and I are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone illegal, even with the most liberal bill on the table. Yes, we pay taxes, but we know that these taxes will count toward our own social security, unlike those of someone working under fake, or worse yet, borrowed, SSN. Deb had an opportunity to invite her parents in the US, illegals don't even have that, and their parents will unlikely ever see the US. Deb and I were fortunate to be able to come to work to the US legally, and great majority fo the illegals never in a million years had such opportunity. And finally, yes, 140K green cards for emploiyment-based visas are low, but with the vast majority of them going to skilled workers, it is the height of hypocricy to be mad at half a million or so unskilled workers needed for the economy every year for not following the rules and coming on a 10K 'other workers' quota.

    What I think legal immigrants should do is not to recognize that anti-immigant hypocricy of 'reward for breaking the laws' is the language used by those who want to limit ALL kinds immigration. Lifetime of punishment for a minor civil violation is not a way to build healthy society, so let's side with the reason and recognize that someone busting their back every day in a 100 degree heat is just as deserving of the future as a someone with a Master's degree. We're all in this together.
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