This article from

has been sent to you by


Support builds for the legalization bill

 Out of the Shadows

October 1, 2003


With the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, immigration

reform in America came to a halt. The emphasis

understandably shifted from inclusiveness to security and

the failures of the immigration service. For the estimated

six million illegal immigrants who are here to find work or

a better life, any hope for a guest worker program or an

easier time for their children was stalled as well. Only

now, two years later, is there some chance that Congress

might focus on needed immigration reform.

About 900 immigrant workers, some of them undocumented,

have been crossing the country by bus this past week to

tell their stories. Calling their trek the Immigrant

Workers Freedom Ride, they were motivated in part by the

brutal deaths of more than 145 migrants last year trying to cross the border. The workers also need

relief from employers who mistreat those in a shadow economy.

There are important new ideas in Congress about how to

improve the system. One, the "Ag Jobs" bill, would

streamline the nation's failing program for bringing in temporary farm workers.

The other, known as "The Dream Act," would help children of illegal aliens gain access to college and become legal.

The agricultural jobs bill is considered a model that could help offer ways to bring in guest

workers for other segments of the economy. The result of years of negotiations and

debate among unions, agricultural interests and workers' rights advocates, this bill now has wide support.

The Senate version is co-sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, and

Senator Larry Craig, a conservative Republican.

More comprehensive reform should be the goal for an

inadequate system. But change on such a scale requires far

more debate. Meanwhile, Congress and the White House should start with proposals for agricultural workers

and immigrants' children that already have strong bipartisan support.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company