White House immigration proposal would divide families

The new, "compassionate" White House plan for immigration, which was released to the media last week, includes revamping the green card system and "cleaning up" family backlogs. It emphasizes employment and talents, instead of family ties.

The proposal eliminates the 4th preference (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens), eliminates the 3rd preference (adult married children of U.S. citizens), eliminates the 1st preference (adult unmarried children of U.S. citizens), and places caps and waiting periods on parents of U.S. citizens.

Those who have played by the rules and are still in the family backlog would continue to be eligible to immigrate after re-applying and paying $500. The new system would be a revised family system to end "chain migration," adding a merit-based point system that would emphasize skill level, education level and employer recommendations. Additional points could be awarded for home ownership, people with health insurance, level of school success of applicants' children and English language proficiency.

Undocumented immigrants must register within a 12-month period, beginning six months after enactment. After the enrollment period and after passing background checks, the immigrant may obtain a new "Z" visa good for three years and renewable every three years. For the first renewal, however, the person must pass the English/civics naturalization test. At each application, the immigrant must pay a $2,000 fine plus a $1,500 processing fee plus Social Security tax collected from the immigrant while working illegally. Z visa holders are not eligible for any public benefits except emergency care and elementary and secondary school education. They may not petition for relatives.

After regular immigration backlogs are cleared, Z visa holders may apply for permanent residence, but will have to pay an additional $10,000 fine and apply in the immigrant's home country through existing consular processes.

Tags: ACORN, citizenship, immigration policy, Immigration Reform, naturalization, white house (all tags)

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