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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release August 6, 1999


In 1997, Congress passed a law that, though well intentioned, resulted in different treatment among groups of Central Americans seeking refuge from persecution.

I am pleased that yesterday our administration submitted to Congress legislation that will result in fairer, more just treatment for Central Americans and Haitians who have come to this country seeking protection from harm. Our legislation will right the imbalances of the 1997 "Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act" so that our laws recognize not what type of regime punished a person, but what that person has suffered. Specifically, our bill would ensure that migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti all receive similar treatment under U.S. immigration law.

America is too great a country not to support this bold move for fairness. I call on Congress to act on our legislation and achieve equity in our nation's immigration laws.

I also want to thank Representatives Christopher Smith, Luis Gutierrez, Carrie Meek, and Benjamin Gilman and the many other members of Congress who cosponsored this bill.