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Real Immigration Reform: Change the Green Card and Visa Programs

February 2, 2013
Plain English Version

OPINION

Critics say immigration reform may not go far enough. It is one thing to set up a bureaucratic program for legalization. It is another thing to solve the long-term problem.

To do real reform the nation must change the way green cards or permanent visas are given out. The system of family preferences must expand dramatically. The employment visas must be brought up-to-date. Only 366,000 family and employer-sponsored permanent visas are granted each year. Only certain spouses, parents and children of U.S. citizens have no limit.

No country can get more 25,620 permanent American visas. China, India, Mexico and the Philippines reach the quota easily. The number is much too low given the high demand. That is why the idea of “going to the back of the line” to wait for legal entry is often seen as a cruel joke

Years ago some congressmen came up with better plans. They proposed that more of visas should go to countries that already have large populations in the United States. The rules for each country would change every five years, based on new facts.

There were even suggestions that no quotas should be placed on countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Immigration reform should result in easy entry and easy exit for workers, legal status for factory and seasonal workers and the unification of families.

The New York Times

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