Immigrants Voice Concerns Over Legalization Bill
by Jeffrey Moreno , Chronicle Correspondent
Jackson Heights Congressman Joseph Crowley speaks at a forum on immigration reform at LaGuardia Community College on Monday.
Students, residents and representatives from immigrant groups joined two congress members on Monday to discuss a new bill that would reform the nation’s immigration policy. On the eve of the international workers day, or May Day,
LaGuardia Community College’s aptly named Little Theater was filled with people who wanted to learn more about the Strive Act and express their concerns with it.
Groups like Desis Rising Up & Moving, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Irish Lobby on Immigration Reform were there to speak on behalf of undocumented immigrants.
Congressmen Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) led the discussion. Gutierrez is a co-author of the bill, while Crowley is a co-sponsor.
Strive — an acronym for Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy — would allow undocumented people to work and travel legally. It would also allow them to eventually become permanent residents.
“As the son of an immigrant and a resident of New York, I know that immigrants who left everything to come here were responsible for building our great nation and city. This landmark legislation respects their sacrifice and hard work, and treats all immigrants with respect and dignity,” Crowley said.
The legislation would give undocumented workers temporary visas that start them on their way to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. Applicants would have to meet a host of prerequisites to qualify for the six-year visa. At the end of the six years, visa holders will be able to self-sponsor when applying for permanent resident status.
The Strive Act could potentially legalize millions of undocumented immigrant workers currently living and working in the U.S. illegally.