Are Immigrant Families Being Penalized?

Posted on May 25, 2007. Filed under: uncategorized |

A bipartisan immigration bill is now being debated in the Senate.

Supporters of the bill, including the White House, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican, say it would help aspiring legal immigrants by eliminating the backlog of about four million visa applications within eight years. A total of 440,000 green cards — as visas for legal permanent residents are known — will be set aside during each of the eight years to reduce the backlog. But by a quirk of the bill, legal immigrants who are seeking to bring spouses would be left out of the backlog reduction and the number of visas allotted to them would be slightly reduced.

“This bill is a disaster for nuclear families, especially if they have obeyed the law,” said Paul Donnelly, an adviser to American Families United, an advocacy group for legal immigrants. “If you talk about family unification and you don’t talk about nuclear families, what do you mean?”

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, both Democrats, and Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Republican, introduced an amendment to the bill yesterday that would eliminate the numerical limits on green cards for spouses and young children of legal immigrants.
(from As Law is Renegotiated, Immigrant Families are on Edge [New York Times])

Senator Clinton (D-NY), Senator Menendez (D-NY), and Senator Hagel (R-NB) are being sensible and are to be applauded. I wish more American legislators were sensible.

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