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#210: Clinton seeks rules for Haiti, Centam immigrants (fwd)


Clinton seeks rules for Haiti, Centam immigrants
 06:59 p.m Aug 06, 1999 Eastern 
WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton said on Friday he
had proposed legislation easing access to the United States for
residents of Haiti and Central America who fled their countries to avoid
unrest or human rights abuses. The bill aims at treating immigrants from
Haiti, El Salvador,Guatemala and Honduras under the more generous
standards applying to immigrants from Cuba and Nicaragua, who were     
covered under 1997 legislation. This bill would right the imbalances
left by (the 1997 law) by offering the same protection to all Central
Americans who have fled violence, human rights abuses and unrest,''
Clinton said in a  written statement.  The bill was sent to Congress
late on Thursday. It was introduced in the House of Representatives by
Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and         
Representative Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat.  It would allow
immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who have lived
continuously in the United States since December 1995 to become
permanent residents, as long as they have not been convicted of certain
crimes. Haitians who fled to the United States in the early 1990s woulde
treated similarly. `The countries from which these migrants have come
are young and fragile democracies in which the United States has played
and will continue to play a very important role,'' Clinton said in a  
letter to Congress accompanying the legislation. ``The return of these
migrants to these countries would place  significant demands on their
economic and political systems. By offering legal status to a number of
nationals of these countries with long-standing ties in the United
States, we can advance our commitment to peace and stability in the
region,'' he said.