According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigration Restrictionists (the loud, vocal minority) are outnumbering immigrant supporters by 10 to 1. PLEASE call your Senators to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform that is good for America and treats everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. For information on specific amendments and contact information for all US Senators, please go to www.aila.org.
New regulations will require that I-140 Petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers must be filed within 180 days after an Application for Alien Employment Certification has been certified. This rule will be effective as of July 16, 2007. (20 CFR Part 656).
Two amendments to the Grand Bargain were introduced in the Senate today. Both are democratic amendments and both take aim at the Guest Worker Program (Y Visa). The first would remove the Guest Worker provisions from the bill completely and the second would cut the number in half. Republicans generally favor the Guest Worker provisions as they provide a pool of cheap foreign workers to US corporations. Democrats in large oppose the Guest Worker provisions on the grounds that they take jobs from American workers, lower Americans’ wages, and are unfair to the foreign workers who must leave the US upon the expiration of the visas.
The amendment to eliminate the Y visa was defeated by a vote of 31-64. However, other amendments seeking to curtail the program are likely to follow, beginning with a possible amendment from Senator Bingaman (D-NM) as early as tomorrow morning, cutting the number of Y visas from 400,000 down to 200,000 annually.
The Grand Bargain has been attacked by the right who decry: (1) the proposal is amnesty, (2) the guest worker provision will drive down wages for low-skilled US workers, and (3) illegal aliens will jump ahead of those who applied to immigrate legally. It has also been attacked by the left who complain that: (1) the proposal will separate families, (2) requiring guest workers to return home after two years without an opportunity to stay is inhumane and unrealistic, (3) the fines and filing fees are excessive. Nobodys happy, therefore all bases have been covered and the stage has been set for a healthy debate.
The Bill has just been introduced in the Senate and two weeks of debate and amendments are expected. This will lead to a final bill that is substantially different from what was the result of a back room deal by a group of bi-partisan Senators. The result will be a bill that passes the Senate. It will then pass the House as shrewd politicians know that this issue should be resolved before the 2008 elections as it is a divisive one and if they let it linger they will realize that it will not be to their advantage. Candidates who make this a campaign issue risk being viewed as xenophobes or amnesty proponents. There is no such thing as a perfect solution that will please everyone. Therefore, a bill that leaves no one smiling could be the path to a solution to this problem that so desperately needs fixing.