What do I have to be thankful for?

Question: I have tried for years to become legal. At every try I am either denied or do not get an answer. I know that the holiday season is just around the corner, but I’m not sure how to keep a positive outlook. Can you help?

Answer: With the past elections which will have democrats in power for the first time in 12 years in Congress in both the Senate and the House, we can hopefully expect some real immigration reform to be passed. Democracy has spoken. We have seen democracy at work. The people of the United States did not like the way things were headed in the old Congress. Those people have been voted out of power. There was no violence and no problem with the change of power. We will now be able to have some real hope that something will be done to help the millions of undocumented persons in the U.S.

Question: What makes you think that immigration was an issue that caused people to vote the Republicans out of power?

Answer: If you were to look at all the races across the country, including those for governors, there were many who were campaigning on the ‘anti-immigrant’ bandwagon. The type of person who was espousing ridiculous notions that all immigrants must be deported; that all immigrants and illegal aliens are taking jobs away from qualified U.S. workers; that bigger fences need to be built to keep them out, etc., etc. However, a recent statistical survey has shown that not a single one of these anti-immigrant politicians were reelected or elected for the first time. The people in mass have said that they do not believe the nonsense espoused by those politicians. They have seen that the only immigration bill passed in the last Congress was to build a huge fence between Mexico and the U.S. was not sufficient. That exclusion from the U.S. is not the answer. Now, that Congress, the President and the Governors have seen that the people of the U.S. are ready to see real immigration reform. They have seen that the Republicans who would not budge to pass real immigration reform are now no longer in power.

Question: When might something happen that will help all of us?

Answer: Nobody knows exactly. However, immigration is certainly a hot topic that will be on the agenda of the new Congress which takes power this coming January 2007. Right now is the lame duck session of the old Congress. For the next two months, they will probably not have too much that they will or can do. However, since the new Congress is taking over in January and the people of the U.S. elected them to do something positive and to not simply stonewall everything, we can hopefully expect that the early part of 2007 will have some reform immigration bills on the table.

Question: What type of reform bills do you think might come?

Answer: Again, it is hard to predict exactly. However, there is the situation of what to do with long term illegal residents. Hopefully, they will have some path for those people not only to obtain work-permits, but also to obtain lawful permanent residency. Also, there is currently a massive shortage of H-1B’s for professional work-permits. Hopefully, they will pass some law that will increase the number of H-1B’s to a realistic number that does not expire two months after the door opens for them to be submitted. Additionally, for employment based green cards, there is now years of waiting for the visa numbers to become current after the Labor Certification is approved. Hopefully, the new Congress will make some type of law that will increase the number of immigrants for employment based categories, or will find someway to decrease the waiting period for those people. There are students that have been here since children are here illegally. Hopefully, some law will pass under what was previously proposed as the “Dream Act” to allow these students to become legal so they can go to college and not have there careers ruined. These are the hot topics that will hopefully be on the agenda for the new Congress. All of us should start e-mailing and writing to our congressional representatives to further convince them of the change that is necessary.

Therefore, as the holiday season approaches, you have a great deal to be thankful for. A new Congress along with a new dawn is coming. We shall see in the coming months a Congress that will do the work of the people and will pass real immigration reform. There is more hope this year than in a very long time. Happy Thanksgiving!

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