Thursday, May 24, 2007
"Mr. Nikpouri is one of an estimated 1.5 million legal immigrants in the United States who have been waiting as long as seven years to bring husbands, wives and small children to live with them. Instead of giving them new hope, a bipartisan compromise bill now under debate on the Senate floor would only make their plight worse, senators, lawyers and immigrants said yesterday.
While the bill’s supporters say it would put legal immigrants ahead of illegal ones, immigrant advocacy groups and lawyers who have studied the measure say it is a minefield for those who have been waiting for years in the bureaucratic labyrinths of the immigration system. If the bill passes, they said, millions of foreigners already in the legal pipeline could face even longer waits than they do now.
For future immigrants, priorities would shift to favor those with specialized job skills, higher education levels and English language ability over the family ties that have been the foundation of the system for four decades, making it even more difficult for relatives to immigrate.
Supporters of the bill, including the White House, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican, say it would help aspiring legal immigrants by eliminating the backlog of about four million visa applications within eight years. A total of 440,000 green cards — as visas for legal permanent residents are known — will be set aside during each of the eight years to reduce the backlog. But by a quirk of the bill, legal immigrants who are seeking to bring spouses would be left out of the backlog reduction and the number of visas allotted to them would be slightly reduced."
By Julia Preston, N.Y. Times Link to Article