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[Congressional Record: April 26, 2001 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
By Mr. HAGEL (for himself, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Schumer, Mrs.
Clinton, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Kerry):
S. 778. A bill to expand the class of beneficiaries who may apply for
adjustment of status under section 245(i) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act by extending the deadline for classification petition
and labor certification filings; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it's a privilege to join Senator Hagel,
Senator Schumer, and Senator Clinton in introducing legislation to
extend section 245(i), a vital provision of U.S. immigration law, which
enables persons who are eligible for green cards to adjust their status
in the U.S., rather than have to return to their country of origin to
do so. Last year, Congress made a major effort to bring greater
fairness to the nation's immigration laws. The Legal Immigration Family
Equity Act was a sensible compromise worked out on a bipartisan basis
to deal with many of the injustices that have been so harmful and so
unfair to so many immigrant families in recent years. Included in the
legislation was a partial restoration of 245(i).
Under last year's legislation, however, immigrants are required to
file their petition by April 30th to qualify for 245(i). This fast-
approaching deadline is causing fear and confusion around the country.
Eligible immigrants are struggling to file their petitions by April
30th, but little time remains. Across the country, we hear that many
qualified persons will not be able to file their petitions by this
deadline, because not enough attorneys and legal service organizations
are available to handle their cases.
The legislation we are introducing will extend the deadline to April
30, 2002, and provide needed and well-deserved relief to members of our
immigrant communities. Spouses, children, parents and siblings of
permanent residents and U.S. citizens will be able to adjust their
status in the U.S., and avoid needless separation from their loved
ones. Similarly, businesses will be able to retain valued employees. In
addition, the INS will receive millions of dollars in additional
revenues, at no cost to taxpayers.
Extending the section 245(i) deadline is pro-family and pro-business,
and it is also good economic policy and good immigration policy. It is
consistent with the goal of legislation to reunite immigrant families.
Representatives Peter King and Charles Rangel have introduced similar
legislation in the House. Congress needs to act quickly to pass this
important legislation. I hope that our Republic and Democratic
colleagues will join us in supporting this needed extension.
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