Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) – Immigration was on the minds of leaders from the Polish-American and Ukranian-American communities as they met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Chicago’s northwest side Saturday.
Durbin said, during the meeting at the Ukranian Cultural Center, at 2247 W. Chicago. Av., that no comprehensive immigration bill will allow violent, threatening or dangerous criminals a path to citizenship. But immigration attorney Robert Goszek said he and clients needed to know what constitutes violent, and warned that it could be misinterpreted.
“With the case of domestic violence or a nasty divorce going on, these are the things that could really prevent the system in any bill from working to its full extent,” Goszek said.
Durbin indicated that he understood.
Another attorney brought up the case of a man, in the United States illegally since age 4, who is 50, has served prison time but has had a clean record for 12 years. Durbin said no law can anticipate every possibility, but said the bill being crafted will not permit deportation for traffic offenses, such as speeding, or for failing to have a driver’s license, which was all but impossible for the undocumented to obtain until recently but even now is not granted in many states.
Immigration rights activists have charged that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have picked up and deported many people for such low-level offenses.
Durbin is one of the “Gang of Eight” in the U.S. Senate charged with finding a compromise on a comprehensive immigration bill.
He said that the path will not be easy, especially for those who have managed to hide their residency well. He said it was likely that those seeking to apply for citizenship under the new law will be required to present some kind of paper trail.
Ukranian-American Federal Credit Union CEO Bohan Watral said the credit union can help establish such a history now, while immigration attorney Michael Klysch said some undocumented immigrants may be able to turn to Facebook histories to establish that they have been in the United States.