Immigration Legalization and Status Adjustment Legislation [Updated April 15, 2002] [open pdf - 72KB]
"Although President George W. Bush has said he opposes broad legalization for unauthorized migrants, there were reports in the summer of 2001 that the President would recommend legislation to legalize an estimated 3 million Mexicans working in the United States without legal authorization. President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox have established a Cabinet-level working group to develop "an orderly framework for migration that ensures humane treatment [and] legal security, and dignifies labor conditions." Initial speculation that the President would unveil a legalization proposal in early September was tempered by subsequent reports that he would recommend a more gradual series of proposals. Talks with Mexico continued after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and now the issue is re-emerging. On August 2, Congressional Democrats announced a set of principles that will guide broad immigration legislation they intend to propose, and among those principles is a plan for 'earned legalization.' Their proposal would not be limited to nationals of any one country and would focus on "longtime, hard-working residents of good moral character, with no criminal problems ... who are otherwise eligible to become U.S. citizens." While supporters characterize legalization provisions as fair treatment of aliens who have been living and working here for years as good neighbors and dedicated employees, opponents describe such proposals as an unfair reward to illegal aliens who violated the law to get into the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30780