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1. DREAM ACT

This Act would enable children who innocently came to the U.S. without visas or overstayed obtain legal status. President Elect Obama has stated that this Act is his first priority. These children who were left here or whose families arrived in the U.S. and never left have been placed in limbo without any way to adjust their status or legitimize themselves. Now many are young adults who have no way of going to school and completing their education and neither are they able to get permission to work. In 2008 legislation was introduced by Senator Durbin of Illinois, but the bill failed to pass. President Elect Obama has pledged to pass this reform.

2. LIFE ACT – (245 (i)) – RESTORATION

In 2001 before September 11th, 2001, President Bush had promised President Fox of Mexico to restore this law which allowed aliens who had a relative petition filed for them prior to April 30, 2001 or a labor certification filed by an employer before April 30, 2001 to adjust their status in the U.S. by paying a fine when their priority dates were reached. This legislation was initially for the preservation of good will, especially with our Latino neighbors to unify families and/or provide our country with skills and services not available from the American labor force. The labor certification assured that workers’ wages would be protected here because of the insistence in the Act that salaries could only be accepted if they met prevailing wage rates. A fine was imposed on these aliens for having come to the U.S. without a visa or for those who overstayed their authorized stay.
President Elect Obama has declared that it would not be feasible or humane to deport 12 million aliens. He has stated that to deport these aliens would impose immeasurable hardship on immigrant families, many of whom are citizens or permanent residents. Roundup programs have proved to be unworkable. President Elect Obama said that in all of 2008 only some 3,500 aliens were deported by this roundup at great loss to many businesses, individuals and at great cost to our nation. The protection of our borders is essential, but these 12 million individuals should acquire lawful residence by paying back taxes and a fine as well.

3. SPECIAL WORKERS – H-1s
EXTENDING THE NUMBER OF APPROVAL VISAS
This Special Worker Program (H-1) has been of great help to our society because it provides the U.S. with highly skilled and professional workers with little cost fo the U.S. These applicants have been educated and trained abroad and they are of great benefit to our economy.
Congress has drastically reduced the number of approvals permitted over the last few years with the result that available numbers are exhausted within one day of the filing date. The results for the rest of the year U.S. business world cannot bring in needed highly skilled and professional employees.
This deprives American business of needed skilled employees and essentially self-defeating law. President Elect Obama should ask Congress to double the number of H-1 visas immediately. This was the law before 2001 and it worked very well to the
benefit of American business and industry.

4. FAMILY VISAS – Expanding Visa Numbers

The limitation of visa numbers for various family categories has resulted in unusual hardship to many U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Spouses and minor children of permanent residents now have to wait up to 5 to 6 years to be reunited with their citizen or resident families.
Adult single children of U.S. citizens also have years to wait before they can be reunited with their U.S. citizen relative and married children even much longer. Siblings of citizens have to wait over 10 years.

These long waits are punishing the U.S. citizen and permanent residents. These quota numbers should be expanded to end these harsh delays.

5. SKILLED WORKERS – PERMANENT RESIDENCE VISAS

These workers are sorely needed by our businesses, industries, universities, hospitals and foundations. Quota limitations are too restrictive and damage our economy. President Elect Obama’s logical conclusions are that the admission of these candidates does not jeopardize the American work force. The number of these visas should be immediately increased to meet the reasonable needs of our economy. At the present time, almost all of these skilled workers and professionals cannot receive their immigrant visas because almost all of the work visa allocations are closed except for candidates with Master’s Degrees and even for some countries like Mexico, The Philippines, China and India, they are even closed for candidates with Master’s Degrees.

6. CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS FOR DRUG OFFENSES

Drug crimes should be reconsidered in light of the fact that almost l/3 of African Ameicans between the ages of 18 and 35 have at one time or another been in jail for a drug crime. This adversely affects a substantial part of our population with disastrous results. It creates a subclass that is bittier and feels disenfranchised. Instead of the police concentrating on crimes of violence, they are concentrating on essentially petty crimes which only harm the users, not society. The sale of drugs should of course be severely punishable. However, mere possession is principally harmful to the user, not society as a whole. Education, retraining and rehabilitation should be our focus. Detection, enforcement and arrest of these users is costly both to the State and to these who are arrested. The immigration laws are unrealistic because they treat users as aggravated felons necessitating their deportation. This often causes misfortune to those arrested and to their families without ever permitting a Judge to use his/her discretion on the imposition of a penalty. The Immigration Service needs to take account of reality and arrive at a more tolerant and rational resolution.

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