Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Highlights Lowlights


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The Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill
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HIGHLIGHTS:
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The bill recognizes the value of the work of our undocumented population and provides many more legal opportunities for family unification and for immigrants coming here to work.·
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Legalization program: An estimated 8 to 8.5 million undocumented immigrants will be able to come out of the shadows and be put on a path to permanent residence.· AgJOBS included: A million undocumented agricultural workers would be put on a path to permanent residence through provisions targeted to these workers.·
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DREAM included: Undocumented immigrant students will be put on a path to citizenship and so will be able to continue on to college along with their classmates.·
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Significant increase in family visas: The family-based immigration system will be updated to speed family unification.
It is expected to clear the backlog for family unification in approximately six years.·
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Significant increase in employment visas: Employment-based visas are more than doubled to more realistically allow immigrants to come legally in the future to work.·
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A new temporary worker program: The bill provides temporary visas to allow 200,000 persons to come legally each year and take jobs that are not being filled by American workers. This program includes worker protections, gives workers the ability to change employers, and provides a path to permanent residence for those who want to stay
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LOWLIGHTS
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The bill contains many enforcement provisions that are symbolic, mean-spirited, unworkable, and will do little to make our country secure or our immigration system orderly.·
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Some undocumented ineligible for legalization or unlikely to come forward: An estimated 2.5 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants will not be eligible to legalize or may be afraid to come forward because they arrived after the bill s cutoff date, or because certain provision in the law will make it risky for some undocumented immigrants to reveal themselves.· *
Language hurdle to legalization: Undocumented immigrants who are legalizing will have to meet the same requirements for English and Civics knowledge as someone who is applying for citizenship.·
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Flooding of FBI lookout list with non-criminal immigrant names: The bill would require that information on immigrants who are confirmed to be out of status be put in the National Crime Information Center database. This database is used by local police to find wanted criminals and the bill will flood the database with hundreds of thousands of names of immigrants who have not committed a criminal act.·
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Punishment out of proportion to crime: the bill contains a number of provisions that will trip up immigrants even if they commit only minor offenses and expose them to indefinite detention or permanent exile from their families and adopted country.·
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Wall on the border: The bill calls for at least 370 miles of fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.·
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Reduced access to justice: A number of provisions in the bill will reduce the ability of immigrants to have their day in court when subject to a bad government decision including arbitrary or indefinite detention.·
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Undermine the ability of government agencies to communicate with immigrants: A provision added to the bill making English the national language will make it more difficult for the federal government to effectively communicate critical information ; and· *
Undermine Public Safety: Having state and local police enforce complicated immigration laws would discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes whether they are the victim or a witness.·
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Penalize legalizing immigrants paying back taxes: A last-minute amendment to the bill creates significant hardship for many legalizing immigrants by denying them access to a number of tax credits -- including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) -- for the years prior to 2006. Immigrants who have to pay past tax obligations as part of the legalization process could face prohibitively high tax payments, potentially putting legalization out of their reach. Posted by Picasa


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