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Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: The ''gold'' card.

  1. #1
    Specter's proposal seeks compromise on immigration reform


    WASHINGTON - The Senate's main immigration bill would enable most illegal immigrants now in the United States to remain indefinitely as long as they stay employed, but it wouldn't put them on a glide path to U.S. citizenship.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin debating the measure Wednesday under a three-week timetable aimed at producing a final version for the full Senate by March 27.

    Sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, the legislation is designed to strike a middle course between a bill passed by the House of Representatives calling for tougher immigration enforcement and pro-immigration advocates who call for permanent legal status - and eventual citizenship - for the estimated 11 million aliens now in the country illegally.

    President Bush, defying objections from conservatives, has called for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws and the creation of a temporary guest-worker program to ensure a steady source of labor for U.S. business. Under Bush's plan, qualified workers, including residents now here illegally, could stay in jobs for up to six years, then would be required to return home.

    Senate Judiciary Committee staff members who explained key provisions of Specter's bill on Monday said that the measure would create a "gold card" program for illegal immigrants who entered the United States before Jan. 4, 2004. It also would create a guest-worker program to bring in more foreign laborers.

    Applicants for the gold card would undergo a background check by the Department of Homeland Security, then be eligible for two-year work visas that could be renewed indefinitely, committee aides said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging their boss. The workers wouldn't participate in the Social Security system but would contribute to future savings through worker investment accounts.

    One top committee staffer described the "gold-card" proposal as "a reasonable compromise" in dealing with illegal immigrants, many of whom have lived in the country for decades. The undesirable alternative, he said, would be an unworkable massive roundup, which administration officials have said would cost billions of dollars.

    Unlike other proposals, Specter's bill wouldn't require the immigrants to pay a fine to step forward, aides said. They also said that the proposal wasn't a form of amnesty since it wouldn't offer an automatic track toward citizenship. However, they noted that the measure wouldn't preclude applicants from eventual citizenship.

    Under the separate guest-worker program, which would be based on U.S. labor needs, foreign applicants could work for three years, then could apply to work for another three years before returning home. They'd be required to remain in their home country for a year before reapplying.

    Advocates on both sides of the immigration debate criticized Specter's proposal as an inadequate attempt to placate opposing groups.

    "Some people are going to say it's amnesty, and others are going to say it creates a second-class caste of workers," said Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based think tank that leans right. "It's a non-starter for both sides."

    Tensions between opposing groups escalated on the eve of the committee's deliberations, underscoring the passions surrounding the immigration issue. The National Capital Immigration Coalition announced plans for a Capitol Hill rally on Tuesday afternoon to demand eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    Specter's 305-page bill included elements from two other major bills, one co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the other by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

    Many pro-immigrant groups, as well as a number of business organizations, have lined up behind McCain-Kennedy, which has a guest-worker program that would put undocumented residents on a path to eventual citizenship.

    The Cornyn-Kyl bill also creates a guest-worker program, but illegal aliens would first be required to return to their home countries following a five-year grace period before they could participate.

  2. #2
    Specter's proposal seeks compromise on immigration reform


    WASHINGTON - The Senate's main immigration bill would enable most illegal immigrants now in the United States to remain indefinitely as long as they stay employed, but it wouldn't put them on a glide path to U.S. citizenship.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin debating the measure Wednesday under a three-week timetable aimed at producing a final version for the full Senate by March 27.

    Sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, the legislation is designed to strike a middle course between a bill passed by the House of Representatives calling for tougher immigration enforcement and pro-immigration advocates who call for permanent legal status - and eventual citizenship - for the estimated 11 million aliens now in the country illegally.

    President Bush, defying objections from conservatives, has called for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws and the creation of a temporary guest-worker program to ensure a steady source of labor for U.S. business. Under Bush's plan, qualified workers, including residents now here illegally, could stay in jobs for up to six years, then would be required to return home.

    Senate Judiciary Committee staff members who explained key provisions of Specter's bill on Monday said that the measure would create a "gold card" program for illegal immigrants who entered the United States before Jan. 4, 2004. It also would create a guest-worker program to bring in more foreign laborers.

    Applicants for the gold card would undergo a background check by the Department of Homeland Security, then be eligible for two-year work visas that could be renewed indefinitely, committee aides said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging their boss. The workers wouldn't participate in the Social Security system but would contribute to future savings through worker investment accounts.

    One top committee staffer described the "gold-card" proposal as "a reasonable compromise" in dealing with illegal immigrants, many of whom have lived in the country for decades. The undesirable alternative, he said, would be an unworkable massive roundup, which administration officials have said would cost billions of dollars.

    Unlike other proposals, Specter's bill wouldn't require the immigrants to pay a fine to step forward, aides said. They also said that the proposal wasn't a form of amnesty since it wouldn't offer an automatic track toward citizenship. However, they noted that the measure wouldn't preclude applicants from eventual citizenship.

    Under the separate guest-worker program, which would be based on U.S. labor needs, foreign applicants could work for three years, then could apply to work for another three years before returning home. They'd be required to remain in their home country for a year before reapplying.

    Advocates on both sides of the immigration debate criticized Specter's proposal as an inadequate attempt to placate opposing groups.

    "Some people are going to say it's amnesty, and others are going to say it creates a second-class caste of workers," said Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based think tank that leans right. "It's a non-starter for both sides."

    Tensions between opposing groups escalated on the eve of the committee's deliberations, underscoring the passions surrounding the immigration issue. The National Capital Immigration Coalition announced plans for a Capitol Hill rally on Tuesday afternoon to demand eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    Specter's 305-page bill included elements from two other major bills, one co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the other by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

    Many pro-immigrant groups, as well as a number of business organizations, have lined up behind McCain-Kennedy, which has a guest-worker program that would put undocumented residents on a path to eventual citizenship.

    The Cornyn-Kyl bill also creates a guest-worker program, but illegal aliens would first be required to return to their home countries following a five-year grace period before they could participate.

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