The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), on behalf of our nation’s half a million Americans of Macedonian heritage, applauds President Obama’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. UMD expresses our desire for the Republic of Macedonia to join the Visa Wavier Program, enabling Macedonian citizens to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business on stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
In a Las Vegas speech last week, the President proposed policy changes to make it easier for U.S.-educated foreign students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to receive a “Green Card,” or permanent residency status. Other details included the “start up visa” option for foreign entrepreneurs, facilitation of tourism and travel to the U.S., and an initiative to solve family related cases, among other proposals. UMD strongly believes these initiatives will help improve our economy in the U.S.
“Since the 1880s, Macedonians have been immigrating to the U.S. in pursuit of better economic opportunities, and to enjoy the freedoms that the U.S. offers. Today, Macedonians continue to immigrate to the U.S. and call the U.S. home in significant numbers,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “The time is long overdue for U.S. policy on visitation from Macedonian citizens to be liberalized, and we hope that this momentum for immigration reform in general will also extend to Macedonians who seek to explore business and leisure opportunities in the U.S. The net effect would be mutually beneficial, bringing the two countries closer together.”
This week, UMD participated in a conference call with Dr. Cecilia Munoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council on this topic. In August 2011, UMD also participated in a White House meeting with then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Dr. Munoz on broadening the conversation on immigration reform with other ethnic Americans.
For more information, please visit White House Immigration website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration