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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration Reform: temporary-worker and family provisions at center of debate

Jonathan Weisman at the Washington Post has a full run down of the provisional accord reached on immigration reform in the Senate including a wide-ranging survey of the impending political battle ahead in Congress. The details of the temporary-worker program and the potential weakening of family reunification policy are at the center of the debate:

The Senate deal would grant temporary legal status to virtually all illegal immigrants in the country, while allowing them to apply for residence visas and eventual citizenship. A temporary-worker program would allow as many as 400,000 migrants into the country each year, but they would have to leave after two years. And the current visa system, which stresses family ties, would be augmented by a complex point system that would favor skilled, educated workers. Most of those changes would take effect only after the implementation of tough new border controls and a crackdown on the employment of undocumented workers.[...]

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid expressed serious concerns about the temporary-worker provision and the family migration structure in a tepid response to the deal. Sen. Robert Menendez, a key Democrat on the issue, refused to sign the deal he had helped negotiate for months.

You can read more coverage from Elana Schor at the Hill and check out this update from Congressional Quartely which features this observation:
A key goal for Republicans has been ending so-called “chain migration” of family members of new arrivals by incorporating a new point system for awarding green cards that would include other factors.

A Democratic aide said that under the deal more than 50 percent of green cards still would go to spouses and non-adult children of immigrants. Only about 30 percent of the new green cards would be subject to a new merit-based system, which would award points based on job skills, education and English proficiency.

The temporary-worker provision and weakening of family rules are not the only foci of this debate. Weisman's WaPo article notes the extensive border law enforcement measures offered as a concession to Republicans that must be put in place before any of the reforms can take effect:

Before those immigrant-rights measures could go into effect, the government must deploy 18,000 new Border Patrol agents and four unmanned aerial vehicles; build 200 miles of vehicle barriers, 370 miles of fencing, and 70 ground-based radar and camera towers; provide funds for the detention of 27,500 illegal immigrants a day; and complete new identification tools to help employers screen out illegal job applicants.

Man Eegee has more.



  • If you haven't read and signed the Piolin Petition for fair and just immigration reform, take a look today.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 7:59 AM  

  • I came across your blog through a technorati search and I was wondering if you'd be interested in a link exchange with Immigration Orange. I'm always looking for different perspectives to interact with and value all viewpoints. Email me at kyledeb at gmail dot com if you're interested.

    By Blogger kyledeb, at 11:16 AM  

  • thx for the linkage, k/o. this whole debate has been overwhelming for an activist like me because i'm seeing the fear and depression setting in on families that will be split up by this. Sometimes I really loathe politics.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:28 PM  

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