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A message from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

 
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DMCKEON
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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject: A message from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
From Wed May 23, 2007 2:00 am to Sat May 26, 2007 1:59 am (included)
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Today, I joined with Senators Chuck Hagel and Robert Menendez to introduce an amendment to the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 that would remove barriers to reunification for the nuclear families of lawful permanent residents. The amendment would reclassify the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent immigrants as "immediate relatives," thereby exempt ing them from the visa caps.



Due to backlogs, the current waiting time for the spouse or minor children of a lawful permanent resident to obtain a green card is as much as five to ten years. During this waiting period, the spouse or child is not allowed to enter the United States , even for a brief visit. At the same time, the legal permanent resident is required to reside predominantly in the United States - otherwise he or she risks losing their permanent residency status.



Legal permanent residents are the only immigrants subjected to these requirements. Under current law, United States citizens can bring their foreign-born spouses and minor children into the country without any real wait. So too can students, temporary workers, and others. Only lawful permanent residents must wait years apart from their spouses and minor children.



According to the State Department, currently hundreds of thousands of lawful permanent residents are waiting for their spouses' or children's green card petitions to be processed. The separation is not only inhumane and inconsistent with our nation's commitment to the value and importance of nuclear families, but it exacts an economic toll, as lawful immigrants who are productive members of society move out of the country to rejoin their families. Moreover, barriers to reunification with immediate family members create an undesirable incentive to break the law and live in the U.S. illegally.



The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 would not raise the visa cap on the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents at all and even lowers it slightly. Unlike other family preference categories, the Act also does not allocate any additional visas to reducing the backlog for the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents. Thus, unless amended, the Act ensures that backlogs will continue if enacted.



The United States is a country built by immigrants, but our laws are tearing legal immigrant families apart . Hundreds of thousands of lawful permanent residents have been waiting for years to be reunited with their spouses and children due to visa backlogs. These are taxpaying, law-abiding residents. These are people who otherwise would be admitted into this country, but they are forced to wait because of a tragic numbers game. It is unconscionable that they are being forced to choose between their family and their newly adopted country.



Sincerely,

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
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