Cutoff date in immigration bill would leave many in shadows
WASHINGTON — Huber David Hernandez got a surprising phone call from a friend a few months ago. Congress is working on immigration reform, she said, and it would benefit both of us.
"It was great news," said Hernandez, who is from Colombia and arrived in Orlando in May 2012 on a three-month travel visa and never left, eager "to secure a better future, to achieve what they call the American Dream."
Then his friend called back. "She told me she had heard that only those who entered through 2011 would be covered. It's incredible that just because of one year we're not covered."
A wide-ranging immigration bill being debated in the Senate provides a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants but excludes people who arrived in the United States illegally after Dec. 31, 2011.
Sympathy for late arrivals such as Hernandez, 45, is scarce on Capitol Hill, but immigrant advocates and some lawmakers are working to move the cutoff date, saying it undermines the objective of wiping the slate clean by legalizing millions of undocumented residents and fixing a broken immigration system.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to offer amendments this week that would make the cutoff either when the bill was introduced, April 17, or when (if, really) it is enacted.
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