Thursday, January 08, 2004

On Bush's Immigration Plan 1.08.04

Here is a note from NahWeYone on the Immigration plan:

Immigration Q&A

Allan Wernick, an immigration lawyer whose column appears Thursdays in the Daily News, offers some answers to questions raised by President Bush's immigration initiative:

Q. Is Bush proposing an amnesty for all undocumented immigrants?

A. No. The Bush plan provides only temporary status for immigrant workers, with no path to permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. To get permanent residence, temporary workers will need to qualify under one of the existing methods - family relations, the green-card lottery or the
difficult employer-based sponsorship program.

Q. Who will qualify under the Bush plan?

A. To get temporary worker status, you must be sponsored by an employer. Temporary status will likely be available initially for three years with possible extensions. Temporary workers must pay taxes and contribute to Social Security accounts. And they will qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

Q. Once I get temporary status, will I be able to change jobs? What happens if I get fired?

A. You'll probably be able to change jobs, but you'll need to be sponsored by the new employer. A similar proposal pending in Congress allows a temporary worker to be here no more than 45 days without working.

Q. If I'm here unlawfully, can I qualify?

A. Yes. Having entered unlawfully won't make you ineligible.

Q. Under the Bush plan, will my spouse and children be able to be with me in the U.S.?

A. Yes. But to work, they'll likely need to qualify for the permit separately.

Q. If I get temporary work permission, will I be able to travel out of the U.S.?

A. Yes.

Q. Will the Bush plan help at all in my efforts to get permanent residence?

A. Perhaps. Advocates are hoping that undocumented immigrants granted the new status will be freed from the current bars to permanent residence for those who are here unlawfully. Also, Bush supports an increase in the number of visas available each year. That could help clear up the long backlogs in some visa categories.

Q. Will the bars for criminal activity still apply?

A. Count on it.

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