What was the 2000 Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), in a section entitled "Facts About LIFE" on its website(accessed May 7, 2007), offered the following:
"On December 21, 2000, the LIFE Act - or Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act - was signed into law... LIFE contains a series of immigration benefits destined to alleviate some of the backlog of certain family and work visas and to provide additional possibilities for a limited number of immigrants who have been unable to regularize their situations under previous amnesty and other laws. It’s main benefit is that it allows certain people to become permanent residents while either remaining in the US instead of a mandatory wait in their home country or to enter the US while awaiting completion of their petition for residency...
LIFE is NOT a general amnesty. It does not provide for the regularization of status of immigrants who arrived or remained in U.S. illegally... It does not provide an opportunity for refugees or asylum seekers of certain nationalities (including Haitians and central Americans) to receive the same benefits as Cubans and Nicaraguans in NACARA [1997 Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act] three years ago. It does not restore Medicaid or food stamps to legal permanent residents that were taken away in legislation of 1996. Finally, it does not provide for judges to make case-by-case determinations in cases of deportation for aggravated felony. [It includes] a temporary extension of Section 245i, a new 'V' visa for spouses and children of legal permanent residents, an expanded 'K' visa for spouses and children of US citizens, adjustment of status for certain members of class action suits, protections for applicants under HRIFA [1998 Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act] and NACARA."
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in a section entitled "Immigration through the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE) of 2000" on its website (accessed May 7, 2007), explained:
"On December 21, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act), Title XI of H.R. 5548, enacted by reference in Public Law 106-553 (Dec. 21, 2000), and the LIFE Act Amendments, Title XV of H.R. 5666, enacted by reference in Public Law 106-554 (Dec. 21, 2000), which provides for numerous different immigration benefits. Section 1104 of the LIFE Act and its Amendments (LIFE Legalization) allow certain eligible aliens to apply for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) under a modified version of section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) (8 U.S.C. 1255a). Aliens who are eligible to apply for adjustment under LIFE Legalization are only those who, before October 1, 2000, had filed with the Attorney General a written claim for class membership in the CSS, LULAC, or Zambrano legalization class action lawsuits. In order to qualify for adjustment, aliens must establish that they entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and thereafter resided in continuous unlawful status through May 4, 1988. Aliens must also establish that they were continuously physically present in the United States from November 6, 1986, through May 4, 1988. Furthermore, aliens must demonstrate basic citizenship skills. Finally, aliens must be otherwise admissible to the United States under the Act.
LIFE Legalization also provides for a stay of removal or deportation and work authorization for eligible aliens under this law while their adjustment applications are pending. Section 1504 of the LIFE Act Amendments provides that the Attorney General may not remove certain spouses and children of aliens eligible to adjust under LIFE Legalization and shall grant employment authorization to those eligible spouses and children for the period of time in which they have been afforded Family Unity protection. The exact scope of the Family Unity provisions of the LIFE Act Amendments is discussed later in this interim rule."
The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), in a section entitled "Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act ('LIFE Act'), Summary" on its website (accessed May 7, 2007), offered the following:
"...In order to address the severe backlogs on the availability of visas for families, the LIFE Act provides a remedy for the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents... By creating a new 'V' visa, the law grants some family members a legal status and work authorization in the United States. [It] allows the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents... who have been waiting more than 3 years for a green card, to enter the United States and be granted work authorization...
Eligible applicants will apply directly for permanent residence, rather than for temporary resident status. The Attorney General is required to establish a process under which an alien who has become eligible to apply for adjustment of status as a result of the enactment of this law and who is not physically present in the United States may apply for such adjustment from outside of the country...
Consistent with laws passed in 1990 to protect the family of legalization applicants who were already in the United States, the LIFE Act provisions prevent the deportation of the spouses and minor children of a person who are applying for late legalization under the new law. These family members are eligible for work authorization."