Criticism of the administration's immigration policy proposals grew yesterday, as outside interest groups attacked the restrictions on amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and the immediate plans for stopping boat-loads of Haitians on the high seas.
The amnesty proposal would require illegals to be here 10 years before qualifying for permanent residence, and departs from tradition by requiring that amnesty seekers demonstrate an English-language capability, pay all taxes but not be eligible for all benefits, and not bring in their families.
Sarah Campos, a spokesman for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said yesterday that her group considered the whole legalization plan discriminatory because of the restrictions.
"It's unprecedented," she said. "There's never been an English-language requirement for a permanent resident alien. The poor person from Mexico or a Third World country is not going to have the education to learn English." There is a language requirement for citizenship.
Rev. Kenneth J. Stumpf of the Lutheran Immigration and Regufee Service said the strict requirements for legalization were "a bit of flag-waving" by the administration. The language requirement, he said, seems designed to answer resentment of foreigners by some citizens.
Benjamin R. Civiletti, attorney general for the last 16 months of the Carter administration and co-chairman of a bipartisan citizens committee on immigration reform, said the restrictions made the amnesty plan "self-defeating."
"It's got to be a simple, quick plan," he said, "or people will say 'Why go through 10 years of purgatory? I'm living fine now.'"
Frank Hodsell, a White House aide who coordinated much of the work of the proposal, said yesterday that the restrictions were included because of the illegal past of those who would be seeking amnesty.
"We have mad emore hurdles for them than we would for someone who waited in line in Guatemala or Mexico City for legal entry," he said.
Civiletti and Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.), speaking for the Congressional Black Caucus, told a Senate hearing yesterday that they opposed the administration's plans to have the Coast Guard stop and board vessels bound to the United States from Haiti.
Thomas O. Enders, assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, told the hearing that the interdiction would start as soon as final approval from the Haitian government worked out.
Civiletti said that interdiction was considered and rejected during the flood of Cubans and Haitians to Florida last year. He said the action was rejected because the Coast Guard feared it would result in loss of life. Chisholm called the proposal a return to "gunboat diplomacy."