The Americans for Immigrant Justice, a Miami-based group, chose to honor bipartisan efforts at immigration reform at its 17th annual celebration. The event, to be held at the Hotel Intercontinental, will focus this year on members of Congress who have aided immigration reform by sponsoring legislation to legalize undocumented aliens, whose numbers are said to exceed 11.5 million in the United States.
Current legislation being proposed and supported by the White House would grant undocumented immigrants temporary legal status as long as they have no criminal convictions. In eight years, these immigrants would be eligible for a green card after paying taxes and fees. Other proposed legislation would grant temporary status to the undocumented but would allow them to receive their green cards only when they show proficiency in English. Senators working on the legislation have urged the White House to suspend its own activities and allow Congress a chance to work.
Americans for Immigrant Justice was founded as the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in 1996 but changed its name recently to reflect a more national concern with immigration reform. The organization has helped many undocumented immigrants receive green cards and benefits. The group also helps those who are seeking asylum and have other legal issues regarding immigration.
While the work of the bipartisan committee is giving hope to many that immigration reform may be closer to becoming a reality, the fact still exists that many immigrants are denied basic rights or cannot afford to seek citizenship through regular legal channels. Immigrants who are facing legal problems or seeking protection may consult an immigration attorney for help with their cases.
Source: The Miami Herald, “Miami group lauds immigrant reforms,” Alphonso Chardy, Feb. 26, 2013