Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Senate "compromise" on immigration

On April 7,2006, The Senate Judiciary Committee offered a compromise proposal.
Among its elements:
1. A guest worker program – as opposed by organized labor.
2. Immigrants who have resided in the United States for five years and can demonstrate they have worked in the past could apply for a conditional immigrant visa. After the payment of a fine, six years of work, and proof that they are learning English, they can apply for permanent residency for themselves and their immediate family members.
3. Immigrants who have resided in the United States from 2-5 years would be issued work visas to enter a temporary worker program. During the first three years of the program, a worker would have to return to a port-of-entry to “touch base,” and have their visa stamped by proper authorities. 450,000 green cards a year would be added for this population and would allow them to adjust to permanent residence in 8-10 years.
Despite the provisions of Title VI, many harmful enforcement provisions are contained in the Senate compromise bill, including the following: mandatory detention of anyone apprehended along the border, including families, trafficking victims, asylum-seekers, victims of domestic violence, and unaccompanied children; and authorization of local law enforcement to assist federal authorities to enforce federal immigration laws.
The Senate will resume debate in April. If a bill passes the senate, it will need to be reconciled in joint committee with HR 4437 (Sensenbrenner). A final version would need to be approved by both Houses before being sent to the President.

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