Thursday, June 22, 2006

Skilled immigrants wait on Congress - Yahoo! News: "Skilled immigrants wait on Congress By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jun 21, 10:52 PM ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The latest fights over immigration have focused on who should get a place in line for a legal life in the United States. But the real agony, says Tien Bui, comes when you finally get in line.

Bui, who came to the U.S. as a Vietnamese refugee and is now an engineer for Boeing Co., can't take the career-boosting position he's been offered because his citizenship application is lodged somewhere inside the Department of Homeland Security. With green card in hand, Bui has waited patiently since 2003 for his fingerprints to clear background checks, a process that's become more involved since Sept. 11.
But if Congress approves a new guest worker program, the overall waiting period for Bui and the millions of legal immigrants like him could grow even longer, says a report by the Government Accountability Office.
President Bush mandated that by September of this year, the immigration backlog should be eliminated and DHS should start processing all cases in six months or less, a deadline the agency is optimistic it can meet.
But a spider web of agencies � including the Department of Labor, the Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation � is also involved in evaluating and approving legal immigration applications.
If there are more petitions to process, the overall delays could increase, experts say. At DHS alone, some skilled foreign workers must wait five years to apply for a green card, something American engineering companies say is harming their competitive edge.
'I truly think if Albert Einstein were in my office in 2006, he would be saying 'I'm going to Canad"


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