From: The Polish American Congress, Washington, D.C.
Visa Waiver Program Expansion and Immigration Reform
To: Officers and Members of the Polish American Congress Members
and Friends of the Polish American Community
Date: May 22, 2007
Washington D.C., May 22, 2007 -- On May 21st, 2007 at 1:00
p.m. the Senate began the historic debate on bill S. 1348, Comprehensive
Immigration Reform Act of 2007. It was introduced on May 9th, by Majority
Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and cosponsored by Senators Edward M.
Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Robert Mendez (D-NJ) and Ken
The part of greatest interest to the Polish American
community is the Visa Waiver Program Expansion provision, discussed under
Title IV, Section 413 of the bill which can be viewed through
(Click here for information
on how to follow progress of legislation).
SEC. 413. VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
Section 217(c) (8 U.S.C. 1187(c)) is amended by adding at the end the
(8) PROBATIONARY ADMISSION-
(A) DEFINITION OF MATERIAL SUPPORT- In
this paragraph, the term 'material support' means the current provision
of the equivalent of, but not less than, a battalion (which consists of
300 to 1,000 military personnel) to Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation
Enduring Freedom to provide training, logistical or tactical support, or
a military presence.
(B) DESIGNATION AS A PROGRAM COUNTRY-
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a country may be
designated as a program country, on a probationary basis, under this
(i) the country is a member of the
(ii) the country is providing material
support to the United States or the multilateral forces in Afghanistan
or Iraq, as determined by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with
the Secretary of State; and
(iii) the Secretary of Homeland
Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determines that
participation of the country in the visa waiver program under this
section does not compromise the law enforcement interests of the United
(C) REFUSAL RATES; OVERSTAY RATES- The
determination under subparagraph (B)(iii) shall only take into account
any refusal rates or overstay rates after the expiration of the first
full year of the country's admission into the European Union.
(D) FULL COMPLIANCE- Not later than 2
years after the date of a country's designation under subparagraph (B),
(i) shall be in full compliance with
all applicable requirements for program country status under this
(ii) shall have its program country
(E) EXTENSIONS- The Secretary of State
may extend, for a period not to exceed 2 years, the probationary
designation granted under subparagraph (B) if the country--
(i) is making significant progress
towards coming into full compliance with all applicable requirements for
program country status under this section;
(ii) is likely to achieve full
compliance before the end of such 2-year period; and
(iii) continues to be an ally of the
United States against terrorist states, organizations, and individuals,
as determined by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the
Secretary of State.
Poland qualifies under the above criteria. Depending on
the size of their military forces assisting the United States, many of the
Central and East European countries may also qualify.
Individual qualification for US Citizenship is included
in the balance of the S. 1348 bill, which is lengthy and comprehensive,
and here, in this write-up, we could only provide some highlights, which
will undergo detailed scrutiny and discussion in the next few weeks.
Following is summary of some of the basic sections:
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 - Sets
forth border security and enforcement provisions, including provisions
- personnel and asset increases and enhancements;
- a National Strategy for Border Security;
- border security initiatives, including biometric data
enhancements and a biometric entry-exit system, document integrity, and
mandatory detention of aliens apprehended at or between ports of entry;
- Central American gangs;
- cooperation with Mexico;
- National Guard support on the southern border;
- extension of the Western Hemisphere travel
Establishes a temporary guest worker program (H-2C
- that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary)
shall determine H-2C eligibility;
- for a three-year admission with one
additional three-year extension;
- issuance of H-4 nonimmigrant visas
for accompanying or following spouse and children;
- for U.S. worker
protection;for implementation of an alien employment management
- establishment of a Temporary Worker Task Force.
Expands the visas waiver program to include on a probationary basis a
European Union (EU) country that is assisting the United States in
Afghanistan or Iraq and whose participation does not compromise U.S. law
Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007, or
AgJOBS Act of 2007 - Establishes a pilot program (Blue Card program) for
adjustment to permanent resident status of qualifying agricultural workers
who have worked in the United States during the two-year period ending
December 31, 2005, and have been employed for specified periods of time
subsequent to enactment of this Act.
States that English is the national language of the United States.
Requires the government to preserve and enhance the role of English as the
national language of the United States.
We will keep you updated as further information becomes available. The
current compromise would allow for strengthened border controls,
heightened security and more efficient workplace verification enforcement.
Once those provisions are enacted, a points-based system for skilled
workers would go into effect and the number of visas available to
non-nuclear members of immigrant families would decrease. Those workers
already presenting the United States illegally would be able to apply for
new Z visas after paying a $5,000 fine per person and the head of the
household returning to their country of origin to file the necessary
paperwork. The overall process would take approximately 8 to 13 years.