The Latest Comprehensive Immigration Law Proposal
May 17, 2007

Senate leaders from both parties have revived their discussion of immigration reform, this time around seeking a true compromise. A new bill is under construction, which the full Senate plans to begin debating and revising next week.

The senators have created a 380 page document which includes seven titles. This bill will not become law until it is debated and approved by both houses and signed by the President, but in this early stage the following provisions are involved:

  • heightening border security by hiring more Border Patrol and using advanced technological methods,
  • creating and Electronic Employment Verification System and taking action against employers illegally employing immigrants,
  • creating a temporary worker program in which persons could work for two years at a time (renewal of these Y visas would be contingent upon the visa holder returning to his/her home country for a period one year between each stay),
  • addressing the issue of persons illegally residing and working in the United States (under this proposal, those here presently here illegally will be able to immediately legalize their status by obtaining a Z visa and eventually obtain permanent residency, but not without paying a $5000 fine, awaiting the elimination of a backlog of persons who are the beneficiaries of approved, family-based and returning to his/her home country to apply for the green card),
  • shifting priorities regarding allocation of future green cards by creating a point system (in this scenario, more green cards will be issued based on education and employment needs in the U.S. and particular family-based green card petitions will decrease.

In his introduction of the new bill Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts stressed that a bill will not pass unless it is supported by both Democrats and Republicans and that they “owe it to the American people to stop talking about immigration, and start acting.”

This latest development provides President Bush with a glimmer of hope that some kind of immigration reform will be signed into law before the end of his term. All communications from the White House on the subject of immigration reform have seemed to convey that something, even anything, is better than nothing.

Copyright © 2007-2008, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois