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Income provisions in immigration bill could trip up undocumented workers

Tucked away in the 844-page immigration bill is a provision that could thwart citizenship hopes for many undocumented workers.

Under the immigration reform bill, undocumented immigrants would first be given provisional status. Later, they would have to prove that their family income stayed above 125 percent of the poverty level -- that’s about $29,400 for a family of four. Or they could show they didn’t go more than 60 consecutive days without a job. Otherwise, they could be deported.

Angela Kelley, who heads immigration policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, says the proposed rules are too strict.

“That is just simply creating quasi-documented people, who will never fully be able to integrate," Kelley says.

Kelley wants some flexibility. So if you’re unemployed for, say, 61-days straight, you keep your status if you have a good explanation.

Doris Meissner led the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Clinton as is now with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. She says the rules should be more flexible, but still make people work for citizenship.

“People earn their way, over time, into a legal status in the country," Meissner says.

Meissner adds the rules will satisfy critics, who don’t want to create new citizens who rely too much on government help.  

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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Oh cry me a river of crocodile tears. Since when should I foot the bill for even higher taxes to pay for welfare for these free loaders? I can barely compete with illegal immigrants that went to college on racist scholarships! The "cheap" labor that big businesses love is actually passed down to customers in higher costs to the cities these criminals reside in. I'm fed up with this trend of rewarding criminals.

I'm reminding my useless representatives that I can and DO VOTE. They'll find themselves out of a job and worse if they continue to rip off their own constituents for criminals from other countries. They were voted into office to represent actual CITIZENS and if they're not going to do their job they'll be replaced. Stop pandering to big business and pay attention to the people you're stabbing in the back.

Washington needs to stop rewarding criminals and this amnesty mess isn't going to work. It's probably going to start riots in a few of the places I know. Why isn't the news covering the new RICO law allowing employees to sue employers over hiring illegal immigrants? Why are these criminals painted as victims when they're actually victimizing every citizen of this country?

If anyone is foolish enough to claim they're "good people" I dare you to work the job they took from an American first for half or less pay than what an American should be making. They steal, will cuss you out, claim you have "their land", etc. No one will do it because you can't live off of that tiny paycheck. My relatives are split from Natives to foreigners and they never received such ridiculous special treatment that illegal immigrants do. It was assimilate, come legally, go to a reservation, or fall far behind with no politically correct racists suing to get a chunk of cash for your "discrimination lawsuit".

Americans now work for less today than what they did when Americans were employed to do those "jobs no one else will do". I've had to sweat for money outside and it's no worse than flipping burgers. Unfortunately no one will hire Americans because they've got to compete with their competitors who only hire illegal immigrants. Don't believe me? Try yourself and you'll get to experience the joys I did. Some states are worse than others, but Texas and California are among the top two worst.

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