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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Immigration reform focus of meeting

    Falling on the first anniversary of last year’s nationwide marches for immigration, a community meeting calling for immigration reform will be hosted tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. by the Border Action Network.

    The meeting, which will be held at New Life Church, 330 W. Nebraska St., will call for changes in legislation concerning immigration.

    “”We are holding it at a really critical time right now in the national immigration reform debate,”” said Jennifer Allen, executive director of the Border Action Network.

    Bush yesterday visited Yuma to talk about the White House’s proposal for immigration reform and members of Congress are back from recess and are ready to hear from their constituents, Allen said.

    Politicians who have been invited include Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Raul Grijalva, Jeff Flake and Ed Pastor, and Sens. John Kyl and John McCain. Grijalva will be at the meeting and Giffords plans to send a delegate. The others will not be present, Allen said.

    The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy (STRIVE) Act of 2007, introduced by Congressman Luis Guitierrez, D-Ill., and Flake on March 22, reintroduced the debate into the Legislature.

    “”We have applauded Gutierrez and Flake in getting the ball rolling by introducing this legislation,”” Allen said.

    It is unclear which immigration reforms, if any, will be passed into law.

    “”Immigration policy is a profoundly political decision,”” said Judy Gans, program manager for immigration policy at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the UA. “”I think it will continue to be debated. I think whether Congress gets something done remains to be seen.””

    Some of the topics that the meeting will discuss include a process for the legalization of immigrant workers and families who are already in the United States, Allen said.

    Increasing the number of visas granted to immigrant workers will also be addressed.

    “”We want to … increase the number of visas so that future immigrant workers and families to the United States can enter this country legally through ports of entry in a safe and secure way and not have to risk their lives crossing through the desert,”” Allen said.

    Border policy will also be addressed.

    “”We are also calling for border policies that are accountable, that are responsible, that uphold people’s human rights,”” Allen said.

    A reform of administrative aspects will be discussed as well.

    Some applicants have been waiting upwards of a decade and still have not received legal status, Allen said.

    “”We pretty much have a window of time now between now and about August where Congress, if they don’t pass an immigration reform bill, pretty much will be waiting until 2009, because once the presidential campaigns get in full swing, you can forget about sort of real policymaking, particularly on issues that are as challenging as immigration,”” Allen said.

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