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U.S. Representatives Propose First Federal Immigration Law of Congressional Session

While U.S. immigration law has been a heated and split source of debate among legislators, constituents and even President George W. Bush during the last couple of years, a new bipartisan bill would attempt to address the growing concern about the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Nearly two weeks ago, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) teamed up and introduced a proposed American immigration law to the House of Representatives.

This proposed American immigration law largely resembles a Senate-sponsored bill that failed in the Republican-controlled House last year and ultimately thwarted President Bush’s desire to bring a sweeping change to U.S. immigration laws.

With Democrats now in control of the House, Bush once again made immigration law a major foundation of his domestic agenda and figured he could get better results this time around.

What Would This Proposed American Immigration Law Do?

Like last year’s Senate bill on USA immigration law, the Gutierrez-Flake proposal would create a guest-worker program in which foreign workers could stay in the country for up to six years to take care of jobs that U.S. workers have avoided.

Specifically, this aspect of this federal legislation on immigration would allow qualified foreign guest workers to get three-year visas that could later be renewed for another three years. Once those six years are up, these guest workers would be required to return to their homeland under this American immigration legislation.

If those immigrants wanted to stay in the country to be eligible for a green card denoting legal residence, this proposed criminal immigration law would require them to leave the U.S. and register back in the country through a port of entry.

This “touch-back provision” was also included in the Senate’s past legislation dealing with immigration issues. However, last year’s Senate legislation on immigration applied different standards for immigrants based on how long they were in the United States. This feature is missing in this proposed new immigration law.

Flake added that illegal immigrants who are currently in the country and would like to be a part of the guest-worker program may do so under this American immigration legislation if they’ve paid back taxes and fines, learned English and passed criminal background checks.

President Bush has said in the past that a guest-worker program would provide U.S. businesses with a steady supply of workers for low-skilled and unskilled positions in which there is typically a shortage of labor.

Proposed Immigration Law Would Also Address Border Control

Under this proposed American immigration law, the Department of Homeland Security would be required to ensure that certain steps were taken to secure U.S. borders prior to the guest worker and legalization programs taking effect.

Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security would have to certify that there has been a sharp increase in border enforcement personnel and substantial progress made on a multibillion-dollar high-tech surveillance shield under construction on the border of the United States and Mexico.

So will this proposed American immigration law be viewed as the rational middle ground between mass deportation and automatic amnesty that President Bush called for in his State of the Union Address?

Time will only tell!

Total Lawyers will keep you updated on the latest developments with this proposed immigration law.

And if you have any questions about the immigration laws in the United States, whether concerning visas, deportation or another issue, speak to an immigration law attorney as soon as possible!