Update from Capital Hill
The issue of comprehensive immigration reform has been brought back
to the floor of the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev).
Senator Reid has appealed to President Bush an ardent supporter of
comprehensive immigration reform to lend his support to Senate debate.
If Senate negotiators reach a deal in the coming days, Senator Reid has
promised to bring the proposal to a vote. The White House is calling for
a program which would:
- Establish a New Worker Program with a limited opportunity for
permanent residence for users;
- Eliminate some family preference categories;
- Adopt a new merit/point system for permanent residence;
- Provide a program to convert the undocumented workers into a new
Z visa category which would ultimately allow them to earn permanent
GT attorneys who have been working around the clock on Capitol Hill
to advocate for strong bi-partison legislation believe that the proposal
can be used to formulate comprehensive immigration reform. Any
legislation that will be implemented must be workable.
Senator Reid has stated that he will introduce SB 2611, last year’s
Senate bill, if no negotiated bill is introduced. In response, the
Republicans have threatened to block a motion to proceed. GT will
continue to update our clients on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform
debate that may take place in the Senate for two weeks beginning on
Monday, May 14, 2007.
Other News from the Hill....
On May 8, 2007, Representatives Leahy (D-VT) and Nadler (D-NY)
introduced the Uniting American Families Act. If passed this bill would
allow citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) who are in sex-same
relationships to sponsor their partners for immigration benefits.
GT has learned that House democrats plan to introduce a bill entitled
Responsibility to Iraqi Refugees Act which would increase the number of
Iraqi refugees eligible for resettlement in the United States by 20,000
in 2007 and 2008. Current regulations allow for 7,000 Iraqi refugees to
be processed for entry into the U.S. by the year’s end. The proposed
legislation would also provide 15,000 visas to be issued to “special
immigrant status” Iraqis and their families annually for the next four
years. Special immigrant status Iraqis are those that have worked with
the U.S. government, U.S. contractors or U.S. NGOs in Iraq. The U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than four million
Iraqis are displaced as a result of conflict in the country.