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June 18, 2005

Bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill Introduced in the House and Senate

The AILA WASHINGTON UPDATE, Volume 9, Number 4, June 2005 has an excellent article about the bipartisan commprehensive mmigration reform bill;

Our current immigration system is broken and needs reform. Only comprehensive reform will make immigration safe, orderly, legal and controlled. Such reform is essential to our national security so that we know who is here and can keep out those who mean us harm, and would replace an illegal flow with a legal immigration flow.

Comprehensive immigration reform will make legality the norm. It would bring hard working immigrants out of the shadows to be reviewed and scrutinized by our government, create a legal flow by which needed workers can enter and leave the U.S., shut down black markets that represent a weak spot in our security, facilitate family reunification, and help us maximize our enforcement efforts. Proposals that fail to embrace these three components and seek only to increase enforcement of the current unworkable system will only perpetuate and exacerbate current problems.

On May 12, 2005, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and others introduced the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S. 1033/H.R. 2330). S. 1033/H.R. 2330 would reform our immigration laws so that they would enhance our national security and address the concerns of American businesses and families. The legislation would go a long way toward addressing the problems that have plagued our current immigration system. Among other things, it would:

• Create a national strategy for border security and enhanced border intelligence;
• Establish a break-the-mold new essential worker visa program (the H-5A visa);
• Promote family unity and reduce backlogs;
• Provide a mechanism by which eligible undocumented immigrants present in the U.S. on the date of the bill’s introduction could adjust to temporary nonimmigrant (H-5B) status with an initial period of stay of 6 years;
• Seek to protect individuals from immigration fraud;
• Create new enforcement regimes;
• Promote circular migration patterns.

The bill also would: reauthorize the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program for fiscal years 2005 through 2011 and provide that such funds may only be used for correctional purposes; facilitate civics integration by authorizing the establishment of the United States Citizenship Foundation, as well as a competitive grant program to fund civics and English language classes; promote access to health care by extending the authorization of federal reimbursement for hospitals that provide emergency care to undocumented immigrants and by adding H-5A and H-5B workers to the list of persons for whom hospitals may be reimbursed; require periodic reports to Congress on the use of the worker programs established under the bill; provide for the distribution of fees and fines paid by H-5A and H-5B applicants; include H-5A and H-5B workers in the class of individuals protected under the INA’s anti-discrimination provisions; and provide special immigrant status for certain women and children at risk of harm.

For more details about this legislation which AILA strongly supports, please go to:
http://www.aila.org/fileViewer.aspx?docID=18546

CONTRIBUTORS

Judith Golub, Senior Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs
Marshall Fitz, Associate Director of Advocacy
Danielle Polen, Legislative Counsel
Joanna Hedvall, Business Immigration Associate
John Estrella, Senior Policy Associate
Julia Hendrix, Media Relations Associate
Michelle Mendez, Advocacy Assistant

American Immigration Lawyers Association
918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-216-2403

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Posted by VisaLawyer at June 18, 2005 07:12 AM

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