|BUSH, SENATE LEADERS REACH AGREEMENT ON LANGUAGE FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
BILL WOULD CREATE GUEST-WORKING PROGRAM, LEGAL STATUS FOR MILLIONS, MERIT-BASED VISAS IN FUTURE
18 May 2007
After more than a year of intense debate and heated opposition, a bipartisan group of senators have reportedly reached an agreement with the White House on language that would allow passage and signing for sweeping immigration reform legislation. The bill would give legal status to an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants, and would create a new merit-based system for approving visa applications.
Reuters news service quotes Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as saying "The agreement we've just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America". Republican Sen. John Kyl and various White House officials also participated in the talks.
The legislation is only in its earliest phase, and is likely to face heavy criticism from both proponents and opponents to immigrants' rights. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled the coming week for debate in the Senate. It is expected there will be important amendments proposed. The House of Representatives is likely to begin crafting its version of the legislation later this year.
Elias Bermudez, director of the Phoenix-based group Immigrants Without Borders is quoted as saying "I have been getting calls from migrants weeping with emotion. It's unbelievable the relief that they are feeling". He says the legislation could let millions of people begin to live without fear in their daily movements and in their workplaces.
The proposed bill would create a guest-worker program, under which 400,000 visas or more could be issued per year to workers who would be allowed to enter for up to two years, then having to return to their country of origin before returning under another visa. The legislation would also limit the ability to bring family-members who are not immediate family into the country solely for the purpose of uniting separated relatives. [s]
Before his party reached any agreement on proposed immigration policy reform legislation, Pres. George W. Bush yesterday signed a new law imposing harsh restrictions at US border crossings, establishing 700 miles of fencing to be patrolled by military, border guards, dogs, and drones. [Full Story]
BUSH PRESENTA CINCO PUNTOS A FAVOR DE LA REFORMA MIGRATORIA
Anoche, George W. Bush presentó desde su despacho en la Casa Blanca, un plan de cinco puntos claves para una "reforma comprensiva" de la política migratoria de Estados Unidos. El plan incluye despachar 6 mil soldados de la Guardia Nacional a la frontera con México y un carnet biométrico para los inmigrantes, pero también moderó su retórica, recordando que "todo ser humano tiene valor y dignidad, a pesar del estatus de sus papeles de ciudadanía." [Texto completo]
NEW ROUND OF MASSIVE PRO-IMMIGRANT DEMONSTRATIONS
Peaceful rallies in more than 60 US cities took place yesterday, to protest against House Republicans' plans to classify all undocumented immigrants as felons, to build fortified wall between US, Mexico. Tens of thousands gathered in major cities, carrying banners reading "We are America" and waving American flags and flags of their countries of origin. [Full Story]
IMMIGRATION REFORM COULD EASE HARDSHIP FOR MILLIONS
In recent weeks, the United States has seen the streets of major cities flooded with protesters, demanding more humane immigration reform than that offered by the House of Representatives. The bill currently before the Senate could offer such a solution, and would provide an opportunity for millions more people to become US citizens. [Full Story]