Activists welcome immigration reform

May 4, 2004 at 8:48 PM

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- Immigration rights activists have welcomed new U.S. immigration reform legislation unveiled in Washington Tuesday.

Several such groups, including the National Immigration Forum, said the legislation would go a long way toward fixing the system.

The legislation, the Safe, Orderly, Legal Visas and Enforcement Act of 2004, was introduced Tuesday by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Maine, and Reps. Bob Menendez, D-N.J,, and Luis Gutierrez, D, Ill.

"Everyone in the country, be they native born or immigrant, knows that our immigration system is in desperate need of repair," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. "This bill promises to rewrite the rules so that they can be fairly and evenly enforced across the board."

Sharry said the bill would reunite families by reducing the years of family separation caused by a backlogged bureaucracy and unduly restrictive laws.

He said the legislation would also reward the hard work of immigrants eager for a chance to earn legal residency over time and get on the path to citizenship.

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