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Fairness for Immigrants who Play by the Rules --The Republican Alternative to
President Clintonís Amnesty for up to Three Million Illegal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legal immigrants and those
who seek to come to the United States legally, who have played by the rules,
deserve our help. President Clinton and congressional Democrats want to give
amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and grant legal status to
The Republican proposal --
contained in the Commerce, Justice, State Department Appropriations Bill passed
by the House and the Senate -- embodies true fairness for immigrants. It unites
immigrant families and rewards those who play by the rules. It is pro-family and
There are more than one
million spouses and minor children of permanent resident aliens who are on a
waiting list for the immediate relatives of permanent residents. They must wait
for up to six years for visas to become available. They must endure long and
cruel separations from their loved ones -- as they cannot visit the United
States while on the waiting list. Our proposal grants special temporary visas to
those spouses and minor children who have waited for more than 3 years for green
cards to become available. They would be allowed to wait in the United States
with their husbands or wives and their parents, and work if they choose. When
green cards become available, they could adjust their status to that of
permanent resident aliens.
Close the Books on the 1986
There is one group of
illegal aliens seeking amnesty who deserve our help. These are the 400,000 "late
amnesty" aliens, those who met the conditions set out for amnesty under the
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and yet may have been wrongly
prevented by the INS from receiving amnesty.
After the IRCA application
deadline for amnesty passed, aliens filed class action lawsuits claiming that
the INS wrongly refused to accept their applications or discouraged them from
applying for amnesty even though they met the requirement of having continuously
resided in the United States since before 1982. The INS acted in the mistaken
belief that an alienís short absence from the United States broke the continuous
residence required for amnesty.
Our proposal would allow
those aliens who were members of the classes who sued INS to apply anew for the
IRCA amnesty. If they can show that they meet IRCAís requirements, they would be
awarded amnesty. We would not create any new amnesty, but would complete an old
President Clintonís Plan:
The first of the
Presidentís three amnesty proposals would provide amnesty to any illegal alien
who can show that he or she has resided in the U.S. since the end of 1985. New
INS data places the number of such illegal aliens at 1.9 million.
This type of amnesty
actually precipitates even more illegal immigration, as individuals are
encouraged in the belief that if they can just elude the Border Patrol and stay
underground for a few years, they will eventually get amnesty themselves. A
large-scale amnesty could plunge us into a new immigration crisis. It is no
surprise that illegal immigration skyrocketed after the 1986 amnesty.
The second amnesty would
provide amnesty for illegal aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and
Haiti and Liberia. The number of illegal aliens who would receive amnesty ranges
from a 500,000 to over 1.5 million.
Guatemalans have already received the relief they demanded in 1997. After the
1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act changed the
requirements of suspension of deportation, Salvadorans and Guatemalans asked
that they be able to pursue suspension of deportation using the more lenient
pre-1996 standards. That is exactly what we gave them in the Nicaraguan
Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997.
Nicaraguans and Cubans did
receive green cards under NACARA. However, there is a big difference between
those who suffered under a Communist totalitarian regime the U.S. government
opposed and fled the country, and those who left a country where there was a
government we supported (such as in El Salvador and Guatemala).
Honduras did not have a
civil war, but has had a democratically elected government since 1982. And
Haitians who had a fair claim to permanent residence received it in 1998. As for
Liberians, the Attorney General does not believe that conditions in Liberia
warrant giving them Temporary Protected Status.
The Administration wants
to bring back the 245(i) program, another form of amnesty. This allows illegal
aliens to legalize their status by paying a fine of $1,000. Reviving 245(i) is
an incentive for illegal immigration. Allowing illegal aliens to adjust status
in the U.S. would reward them for violating the law and would serve as an open
invitation for those waiting in line to enter the U.S. illegally.
Contact: George Fishman
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