New Jersey Polish-Americans hope that a pending bill working its way through Congress finds President Barack Obama's approval pen, the Bergen Record recently reported.
The Secure Travel Counterterrorism Partnership Act of 2011 would make it possible to add Poland to the list of 36 visa waiver countries whose residents can travel to the U.S. for tourism or business trips for up to 90 days without a visa.
Locally, Polish residents (who comprise 6.9 of this state's population) and immigration attorneys throughout Elizabeth, Jersey City and Newark commend this proposed legislation, which would obviously make it easier for Polish relatives to come here without undergoing the hassle and perils of applying for a visa. According to U.S. Census numbers from 2005 to 2009, there were nearly 575,000 New Jersey residents with Polish ancestors, the most coming from Bergen and Passaic County.
The proposed bill reflects an enlightened view of the situation, as it would alter the criteria for qualifying countries to those with a maximum rate of 3 percent of overstays. Since Poland would qualify under this rule, it logically follows that most Polish visitors do not in fact overstay or become "illegal." There is certainly no reason why they should be penalized on account of other foreign nationals' decision to violate our immigration laws. There must, of course, be enforcement and teeth to our immigration laws; at the same time, however, they must be tempered with reason and common sense, so that precious resources and manpower are not diverted to areas that do not require their attention.
The New Jersey immigration attorneys at Lee & Garasia, Attorneys at Law, help individuals with immigration issues and problems throughout New Jersey, including Union, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Bergen counties. Call 732-516-1717 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.