How many undocumented immigrants live in Florida

Hope for illegal immigrants in the US

With this radical bill, the Judiciary Committee in the US Senate rushed ahead on Monday evening (March 27th) against the resistance of numerous Republicans. The senators passed the draft by eleven to six votes in the wake of the demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people against tightening immigration laws.

"What will become of America without us?"

Hundreds of thousands protested in L.A. over the weekend against tightening immigration laws

Over half a million people had roamed Los Angeles over the weekend. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was one of the largest protest marches in the history of the city. The protesters carried placards that read "We are not criminals, we are human" and "What will become of America without us?"

The large number of immigrants had every reason to demonstrate, as the House of Representatives proposed in December that the immigration laws be tightened. The design provided for a fence around 1,100 kilometers long along the border between the United States and Mexico. In addition, immigrants without valid papers should be viewed as criminals and should no longer be treated in the event of illness. People who help illegal immigrants face up to five years in prison, and employers who employ illegals face higher fines.

Chance of US citizenship

The Senate Committee has now weakened these proposals. According to this, the illegal immigrants should register, pay a fine and retrospectively taxes, learn English and get a chance of naturalization after eleven years. Critics consider this to be an unfair amnesty condoning illegal behavior.

But the draft is not yet law. The Republican majority leader in the Senate, Bill Frist, expressed himself very skeptical after the vote that the law has a chance in this form. The legal reform will only come into force when both versions of the House of Representatives and Senate have been harmonized.

George W. Bush wants guest worker program

US President George W. Bush wants to legalize illegals

US President George W. Bush should welcome the Senate Committee's decision. He advocates improving the situation of illegal immigrants. Bush's so-called "guest worker program" provides for a six-year residence permit if their employer can prove that he could not find a US citizen for the job.

The House of Representatives had already rejected the guest worker program, and the Judiciary Committee in the Senate has now supported it. Thereafter, 400,000 foreigners could get work visas each year. They should also be able to apply for citizenship later. However, anyone who is out of work for more than six months should be deported to their home country.

Economic interest in immigrants

Before the Senate vote, Bush had again campaigned for his proposal on Monday (March 27th): "Immigrants have enriched our history and vitalized our culture. America is stronger and more dynamic when we welcome immigrants," said Bush at a naturalization ceremony on 30 March New Americans from 20 countries in Washington.

There are also economic interests behind this: the needs of US companies can only be met with guest workers, says Bush. Many illegal immigrants worked on farms and in construction at wages Americans would not accept. According to a study by the "Pew Hispanic Research Center", illegals make up around a quarter of workers in agriculture, 17 percent in cleaning and cleaning and 14 percent in construction.

Hot election issue

Capitol Hill in Washington

A few months before the congressional elections, the immigrant question poses a dilemma, especially for Republicans. In November, the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be elected. Republicans currently have a majority in both houses.

The guest worker program could secure important votes from voters from the Spanish-Mexican cultural area - the Hispanics - in states such as Arizona, New Mexico and Florida. Not only the Hispanic immigrants are for the program. Large parts of the entrepreneurship, especially in the low-wage sectors of agriculture, construction and cleaning, are in favor of the new regulation. In contrast, some conservative Republicans in particular are facing angry voters who see illegal immigration as a burden on schools and the health system.