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Hats off to the Queens legislators who led the way in creating legislation that will one day legalize millions of undocumented aliens in this country.
U.S. Reps. Anthony Weiner, Nydia Velazquez, Joseph Crowley and Gregory Meeks were among the co-sponsors of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act.
The bill would legalize undocumented individuals if they can prove they have been working. They would then have to register with the government, learn English, undergo a criminal background check and pay a $500 fine. They would not have to leave the country and wait for permission to return.
Illegal aliens who meet all the requirements would be able to receive a six-year visa and then a green card. They would be able to travel throughout and outside the country.
The bill would also provide additional funds to the U.S. Homeland Security Department for better training and equipment to use on the nation’s borders.
The legislation is not only fair and compassionate but common sense. Homeland Security, which runs the nation’s immigration services, is overwhelmed. It cannot begin to deal with the thousands of illegal aliens that it knows about, let alone the hundreds of thousands hiding in the shadows of the nation’s largest cities.
For the most part, these people are not a threat. Terrorists like Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who made a failed attempt to set off a bomb in an airliner landing in Detroit, appear to have no problem getting visas to enter this country. Abdulmutallab had a visa in his pocket and a bomb in his underwear.
Right now the city’s illegal immigrants are forced to work off-the-books jobs for low wages and no benefits. They can be seen every morning waiting on the roadside for jobs. They do not pay taxes and their families create a burden on emergency rooms in city hospitals. Further complicating matters, many illegal aliens have children who were born here and are thus American citizens.
It is past time to deal intelligently and realistically with the problem of illegal aliens. This legislation is a big step in the right direction.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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