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107th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 107-62


 
                 A LETTER REGARDING SECTION 245(i) OF

                  THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT

                               __________

                             COMMUNICATION

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

 A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION TO EXTEND THE WINDOW CREATED UNDER 
  SECTION 245(i) OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT DURING WHICH 
 QUALIFIED IMMIGRANTS MAY OBTAIN LEGAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES 
WITHOUT BEING FORCED TO FIRST LEAVE THE COUNTRY AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR 
                             SEVERAL YEARS

<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


May 1, 2001.--Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and ordered to 
                               be printed
      
                                           The White House,
                                           Washington, May 1, 2001.
Hon. J. Dennis Hastert,
Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Speaker: I am a strong proponent of government 
policies that recognize the importance of families and that 
help to strengthen them. To the extent possible, I believe that 
our immigration policies should reflect that philosophy. That 
is why I support legislation to extend the window created under 
section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act during 
which qualified immigrants may obtain legal residence in the 
United States without being forced to first leave the country 
and their families for several years.
    According to agency estimates, there are more than 500,000 
undocumented immigrants in the country who are eligible to 
become legal permanent residents, primarily because of their 
family relationship with a citizen or legal permanent resident. 
However, the law generally requires them to go back to their 
home country to obtain a visa, and once they do so, they are 
barred from returning to the United States for up to 10 years. 
Many choose to risk remaining here illegally rather than to be 
separated from their families for those many years. This issue 
has been the subject of discussion in the Working Group that 
Attorney General Ashcroft and Secretary of State Powell co-
chair with officials of the Mexican government, and should be 
addressed to ensure a more orderly, legal, and humane migration 
flow between our countries.
    I encourage the Congress to consider whether there was 
adequate time for persons eligible under section 245(i) to 
apply for adjustment of status before the filing deadline 
expired yesterday. Information indicates an estimated 200,000 
were eligible to file but did not meet the deadline. 
Preliminary reports suggest that many applicants were unable to 
complete their paperwork in time, due in part to the fact that 
the rules explaining how the provision would be applied were 
not issued until late March. It remains in our national 
interest to legitimize those resident immigrants, eligible for 
legal status, and to welcome them as full participants of our 
society. But we will only be able to do this if the path to 
legalization encourages family reunification. For this reason, 
I would support legislation that temporarily extends the 
recently expired April 30, 2001, filing deadline, while 
maintaining the requirement that the applicant was physically 
present in the United States on December 21, 2000.
    I look forward to working with you on this important 
legislation.
            Sincerely,
                                                       George Bush.

                                <greek-d>


Pages: 1

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