In a clear effort to pass an immigration reform bill, President Bush announced on Tuesday, May 16, 2006, a plan to send 6,000 National Guard troops to control the flow of illegal immigrants at the border with Mexico.
Bush stressed that he also wanted a guest-worker program, granting legal status to certain aliens. He vowed to veto any legislation that provided only for border security and enforcement, without including a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration. “An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved at all,” Bush said.
Following the Bush announcement, the Senate resumed deliberations on a Senate bill that would provide a path for legalization for illegal immigrants and establish a temporary guest worker program, while strengthening the country’s borders.
The Senate indicated that it does not intend to pass a “general amnesty,” because it excluded from the proposed guest-worker program those illegal immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors.
The Senate’s proposed law differs from the proposal by the House of Representatives, which only focused on enforcement. The House bill did not contain any provision for a legalization or guest worker program.
Analysts have also predicted that Bush’s comprehensive plan would face rough sailing when the Senate and the House meet in an expected conference committee meeting to reconcile the Senate and House bills.
It must be emphasized that these are only proposals, which we are all watching closely. Until a final bill (or proposed law) is passed by both the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President, there is nothing to apply for yet.
People should continue to read the news on the current debate on immigration reform, and write to their Senators and Congressmen, to make their stand on the issue known. They should also be wary of immigration consultants who make it appear that an amnesty program is already in effect. We will continue to monitor developments and inform you of developments on these proposals.
Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 25 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.
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