INTRODUCTION OF H.R. 4262, THE SOLVE ACT OF 2004 -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 05, 2004)
HON. JOE BACA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2004
Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4262, the SOLVE Act of 2004, that reforms our nation's immigration laws. This legislation was introduced yesterday by Congressman GUTIERREZ and I am proud to be one of its many original cosponsors.
This bill reunites families by reducing the years or decades of family separation caused by backlogs and harsh restrictions.
Under this bill, immigrants waiting more than 5 years will be given a visa outside the per-country limits. In addition, immediate relatives would no longer count against the 480,000 limit on family-based visas. If we truly value the family unit, we cannot keep in place policies that tear it apart.
We must reward work by granting immigrants who work hard and pay taxes the opportunity to earn a green card.
This bill will allow immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 5 years and worked for 2 years to be eligible for legalization, including spouse and children.
Also, immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for less than 5 years would be eligible for a 3-year visa. The visa will allow immigrants to live, work, and travel legally in the U.S., and apply for a green card after two years of work history.
Congressman GUTIERREZ' bill respects workers by protecting wages and working conditions for U.S. workers.
This proposal creates a new visa for low-skilled workers, such as agricultural farm workers. These workers will be paid a prevailing wage so that Americans do not suffer from lower wages, and the bill makes sure companies hire American workers first.
The confusing system we have today is so difficult to navigate that it encourages many to immigrate illegally as a first resort.
According to the Department of Labor, our economy will need a stable supply of legal immigrants to maintain our economy.
Hospitals in California are importing nurses from South East Asia and Latin America because of a nursing shortage. Restaurants and other service jobs are hiring immigrants to fill in thousands of vacancies.
The fact is that we can reduce illegal immigration by having fair and reasonable immigration laws.
Our government must work hard to prevent people and businesses from violating our laws. That is why we must support comprehensive immigration reform.
Our current system loves immigrants one day and hates them the next. We need a system that is logical, orderly and sympathetic to human needs. This system forces the average Mexican and Filipino to wait over ten years before being reunited with their spouse.
Some people will claim that this bill opens our borders. That is false. The SOLVE Act simply brings order to an immigration system that is broken.
I urge my colleagues to support passage of this legislation.