FARM WORKERS AND THE IMMIGRATION LAW

The new immigration law is considered more liberal for farm worker aliens than for illegal aliens at large:

LEGALIZATION FARM WORKERS

The law and proposed government regulations create two legalization categories for illegal alien farm workers:

Those who worked 90 days during the years ending May 1, 1984, 1985 and 1986, and who stayed in the United States for six months during each year may seek temporary resident status June 1 and receive permanent status one year after the application period, which lasts 18 months. A maximum of 350,000 workers may be legalized.

Those who worked 90 days during the 12 months ending May 1, 1986, and lived for three months in the United States during that time may seek temporary status June 1 and must wait two years after the end of the 18-month application process to become permanent residents. There is no limit on the number who may be legalized.

LEGALIZATION OTHER ALIENS

By contrast, the main provisions of the law say that illegal aliens who can prove they have been in the United States since Jan. 1, 1982 are eligible to apply May 5 for temporary resident status and may seek permanent status 18 months after gaining temporary status.

EMPLOYER SANCTIONS FARM WORKERS

An employer who uses seasonal field workers to grow and harvest perishable crops and hires illegal aliens is not subject to fines or jail terms, even for repeated offenses--except for out-of-the-country recruitment--until 18 months after the farm worker application period begins on June 1.

EMPLOYER SANCTIONS OTHER ALIENS

Under general provisions of the law, employers are barred from knowingly hiring illegal aliens after Nov. 6, 1986, but enforcement of sanctions does not begin until June 1. For a first offense during the first 12 months after June 1, a warning is issued, but for repeated offenses fines and jail terms may be levied.

Employer fines begin at $250 per illegal alien for the first offense and repeated offenders are subject to jail terms of up to six months.

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