Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 14th 2013 Contents A17
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
...Adding To Your Value
WASHINGTON DC---The United States
Congress has started formal consideration
of a sweeping immigration reform bill
that creates a "path to citizenship" for
an estimated 11 million undocumented
immigrants, including Caribbean nation-
als.The Senate Judiciary Committee is
expected to finish work on the bill this
week adopting Republican amendments
aimed at stronger border security.
The immigration bill requires the US
federal government to gain almost total
control of the border, authorising money
for drones, Customs and Border Protection
officers and prosecution of illegal entries.
Under the bill, new guest worker pro-
grammes would be established, particularly
for low-skilled workers, and employers
would be required to verify the legal status
of all employees.
In exchange, Caribbean and other immi-
grants now in the US without legal status
would be eligible for provisional status if
they paid fees, fines and taxes.
They could gain legal residency ten years
after the border was declared secure. After
13 years, they would be eligible for citi-
The eight senators in the bipartisan
group that drafted the bill---four of whom
are on the 18-member Judiciary Commit-
tee---were successful in fending off changes
that would derail the bill.
Immigration advocates and legal experts
say no previous Congressional effort to
change immigration law has offered such
a broad, swift reprieve to immigrants
deported by the US.
The bill would give a legal second chance
to thousands of Caribbean and other
deportees without serious criminal records
who have a child, parent or spouse with
a green card or American citizenship.
Many deportees brought to the United
States before their 16th birthday would
be eligible to return as well.
An amendment from Alabama Repub-
lican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is among
the bill s most vocal critics, has sought to
strip out the deportee reprieve.
But other opponents have welcomed it
as a political godsend, describing it as such
an overreach that it would make the entire
immigration bill easier to defeat.
Some Democrats and immigrant rights
groups have pledged to defend the deportee
return, characterising it as an important
step in righting a wrong.
"We have had four million people
deported since 2002 and close to two mil-
lion since 2008," said Angelica Salas, direc-
tor of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant
Rights of Los Angeles.
"This is the only way to reunite families
that have been destroyed by our outdated,
broken and cruel immigration policies,"
The Senate bill would reduce future
deportations by giving millions of immi-
grants in the United States provisional
But a Senate aide involved in legislative
negotiations says deportees would not be
granted an automatic right of return; they
would have to apply.
He said Caribbean and other deportees
would be ineligible if they had been
expelled for criminal reasons, or if they
were convicted of a felony or at least three
misdemeanors. The waivers would be
granted at the discretion of the secretary
of homeland security.
Immigration lawyers, however, say that
could mean approvals end up being incon-
sistent, adding that some immigrants
would likely not trust the system that had
"It s arbitrary. It depends on who picks
you up, when, and where they pick you
up," said David Leopold, general counsel
for the American Immigration Lawyers
"So who will become eligible or ineligible
in terms of illegal re-entry is really luck
of the draw," he added. (CMC)
NASSAU, Bahamas---Police said
a five month old baby was burnt
beyond recognition after a fire
destroyed the second floor of a
two storey building on Sunday.
The authorities said a 30-
year-old unidentified was injured
as he attempted to rescue the
baby girl from the burning build-
Police did not name the dead
toddler but said their investiga-
tions were continuing into the
Sunday afternoon blaze at the
Amos Ferguson Street house,
south of Cordeaux Avenue.
"The child was discovered
burnt beyond recognition after
fire fighters extinguished the
blaze," a police statement said.
Baby dies in Bahamas fire
US immigration bill could
benefit Caribbean nationals
Bill Clinton, left,
and newly named
pose for photos
meeting of the
External Aide for
of Haiti (CAED), in
Haiti. Created by
CAED, is a new
funds. AP PHOTO
HELP FOR HAITI
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