The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Will the New Immigrant Reform Act Reform America?

Posted by iusbvision on April 18, 2006

Over the past couple of weeks, many people have come forward about their views on the “Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2006”. This new Reform Act can be both helpful, yet hurtful to those illegal immigrants in the United States. Because this is such a touchy debate right now, I will give both pros and cons of this delicate issue.

The bill’s highlights include the ability of legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., reducing family backlog, temporary employment programs, the DREAM Act, and a modified version of the AgJOBS bill. By providing information about these main points of the bill, I am hoping those who don’t really know what is sparking debates will have the background information and are not voicing his or her opinions out of ignorance.

The first matter of the bill is that illegal immigrants who work in the US must reach certain new criteria in order to become a legal citizen. The immigrant needs to pay a fee of $1,000, meet tax filing requirements, be felony-free, and must either understand or learn to speak English, U.S civics and history. During this time, the immigrant is given a temporary six year legal status. After the six years expired, the applicant has to pay another $1,000 fee and is able to apply for his or her lawful permanent resident (LPR). Workers will be allowed to enter the U.S. with proof that they do in fact have a job waiting for them once they have entered the country. This work visa is valid for three years. The Immigrant Reform Act also allows undocumented farm workers who worked in agriculture within the previous two years of December 2005 to apply for a “blue card”. They must pay a fine, then they must show payment of taxes, and prove they are free of felonies.

The bill also ensures families of a U.S citizen who have applied for a visa will be able to continue applying if the legal family member should die before the visa is issued. Immediate relatives of the citizen are no longer penalized due to the limit of visas. The DREAM Act allows those immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. and have graduated high school can apply for a conditional LPR that lasts six years. During the six years, the applicant must either graduate from a 2-year college, attend two years toward a 4-year degree, or serve 2 years in the military. After completing one of these prerequisites, the immigrant can apply for citizenship with no hassles.

Along with the positive aspect of The Immigration Reform Act there are many down sides that can be a burden to immigrants that don’t want to play by the rules. These new provisions effect homeland security, the workplace, and how Americans view this Patriarchy.

Some provisions for homeland security ensures 700 miles of fencing along the U.S/Mexico border where high illegal crossing occur. Another safety factor is the requirement of the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress on the number of illegal immigrants caught, deported, or from countries that is a threat to the U.S. Homeland Security will also be enforced by checking criminal records and terrorist watch lists before being granted a visa.

These provisions also tie into the immigrant’s home and work. Any child that is born to illegal immigrants become wards of the State. The bill will also illuminate the Green Card Lottery. For employers who employ illegal immigrants, the fines have increased. Fines have also increased for those who house or smuggle illegal immigrants and are slapped with a longer prison time.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 has raised many debates over the weeks. Many businesses and schools have exercised their rights of free speech since this act began. In Denver Colorado, flags were banned at Longmont’s Skyline High School in Denver as students were at war with the each other between the American and Mexican flags. Protesters gathered here in town to give their points of view to the Legislature while others marched in hopes others would follow.

I’m not sure how effective this act will be a month, year, or decade from now. It is still early and the public has not seen the Reform Act in action. Many people hold predictions, prejudices, or promises in this new bill that can either help or hurt this country.

Stacey Rummel


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