Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Immigration Reform in America: Will This One Work?

I've pasted below the main elements of the new immigration bill, called: Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 from the Christian Science Monitor linked above.

What do you think? Will this bill work?


Illegal immigrants who arrived in US before 2007 (some 12 million):

•can immediately receive a probationary card, which allows them to legally live and work in the US

•are eligible for a renewable Z visa, offering a path to permanent legal residency status

•are required to pay $5,000 fine, pass a criminal background check, and be employed

•and are heads of household are required to return to their home countries within eight years

For immigrants seeking future entry:

•shifts from system weighted toward family ties toward one with preference for people with advanced degrees, skills

•gives points based on immigrant's education, work experience, English proficiency, and family connections

•allows spouses and children under 21 to reunite with their families

•seeks to clear a backlog in visas for family reunification that will help some 4 million families in the first eight years

•initially distributes about 1.1 million family-based (89 percent) and 140,000 merit-based (11 percent) green cards

•after eight years, allocates 550,000 family-based (60 percent) and 380,000 merit-based (40 percent) green cards

Temporary guest-worker program:

•would admit between 400,000 and 600,000 temporary workers per year

•would allow immigrants to work in the US for two years, then require them to return home

•can renew guest-worker visas twice, but workers must leave for a year in between

Enforcement, security provisions:

•activates temporary guest-worker and Z visa programs only after implementing specific security "triggers"

•"triggers" include: 18,000 border patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing, 70 radar and camera towers along the US southern border, and an electronic employee-verification system for the workplace

Sources: Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007; Senate staff briefings

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