Maria Jones 2013-04-04 07:13:30
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Originally from Russia, Maria Jones has been dedicated to the immigration law since her graduation from the University of Arizona LLM program in 2001. Ms. Jones is a former vice chair of the immigration section of the Arizona State Bar and an active member of AILA chapter in Arizona. Ms. Jones is the owner and founder of the Maria Jones Law Firm with two locations to serve her clients, in Phoenix and Tucson. The firm is also assisting clients worldwide. Maria Jones Law Firm specializes in a variety of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, particularly fiancée and spousal visas, and adjustment of status for family members. Ms. Jones also represents clients in removal and deportation proceedings, bond hearings and naturalization. Maria can be reached at 602.626.3296 or at www.mariajoneslawfirm.com. We are living during the time of change. The world is constantly changing, we are constantly changing. Change is what makes us move forward. There are only 2 stages in life: moving forward or moving backwards. There is no such thing as staying still, which is just another word for decaying. When we are not changing, we are decaying. When we are changing we still have a choice: we can choose love and compassion or hate and anger. America is a unique country; it is one of the most fascinating counties in the world!!! It harmoniously combines so many different cultures, people, languages, and customs and is still called “one nation”. There is something about America that attracts people of different nationalities from all over the world who are eager to come here to live, to work, to raise their children and simply to enjoy life filled with freedom of choice and endless possibilities. Some of them are looking for change, others - for a better life for their children, grandchildren. They want it so bad that they are willing to risk their lives in order to come to the United States by walking through the desert in 120 degrees, or sailing on a boat through a dangerous storm without any guarantees of survival. For years and years, people from many countries have been arriving to the United States from different parts of the world. Some of them with papers, some - without. As a result, now we have more people who reside in this country illegally than legally, 11 million unauthorized immigrants, to be exact. Why? I believe it is a product of our broken immigration system. Everybody admits that it is broken but nobody wants to take responsibility to fix it. It is time for a change! The new change should allow 11 million immigrants to transition from an underground existence to lawful permanent residency and, eventually, U.S. citizenship. For years there has been debate over whether immigration reform should be “comprehensive,” or “incremental.” As a practical matter, immigration law should be something that is updated and revised constantly to reflect current economic and political conditions, to reflect changes in social issues and foreign policy, otherwise, it is in the “decaying” stage. Today, many people are angry and upset about the “situation with illegals,” but others support some form of legalization for illegal immigrants. Polls show that the public wants a system put in place that permits legal status and ultimately citizenship, if the immigrant meets certain requirements and establishes commitment to the United States. Just a few weeks ago, President Obama spoke from Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. “I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long.” President Obama said. “I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future.” The good news, President Obama said, is that for the first time in many years, there is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform. But action must follow!!! “We can’t allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. We’ve been debating this a very long time,” he explained. “As a consequence, to help move this process along, today I’m laying out my ideas for immigration reform.” President Obama’s proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. The president’s proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime, enhances our infrastructure and technology, and strengthens our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute threats to our national security. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Legal immigration should be simple and efficient. The president’s proposal provides visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here, helps the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, and reunites families in a timely and humane manner. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship. The president’s proposal provides undocumented immigrants with a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. It holds them accountable by requiring they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. It requires everyone to play by the same rules. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers. The president’s proposal is designed to stop businesses from exploiting the system by knowingly hiring undocumented workers. It holds these companies accountable, and gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally. Congress will have to decide how many years an immigrant must wait to transition from illegal status to becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States. The amount of time could depend on whether or not LPR status is contingent on first clearing out the backlog of applicants in legal immigration visa categories, whether someone qualifies under special categories like DREAM Act, or whether someone is applying independently or as a derivative. Each of these questions has implications for thousands and thousands of people, and should be addressed in the final legalization package. Current backlog in family-based immigration category leads to delays of up to 20 years of wait. The long delays and outdated procedures have generated several policy proposals that could form the basis for reforming family-based immigration. Among the issues likely to be debated include increasing the number of visas available in order to reduce current backlogs, whether those increases will be temporary or permanent, and whether increases in family-based immigration can be made while simultaneously increasing employment-based immigration. Other issues likely to arise include the eligibility of same-sex partners to petition for spouses and children, allowing the spouses and children of LPRs to be treated as immediate relatives, and providing broader discretion to grant waivers for persons with an immigration violation to remain in the country based on family or other humanitarian needs. The breadth and scope of these issues underscore why the time for a genuine debate over immigration reform is not only much anticipated, but long overdue. Every day we are making a history for our children. It is up to us as to what kind of legacy we will leave behind: a world of hate or a world of love. So when that day arrives for us to leave this world, we can say proudly “We did everything possible to make it better for our children”… It is time for change. It is time for reform. It is time to create a world of love for our future generations.
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