"I AM leaving the U.S. this summer to return home to Ireland. I have been living here for six years without a visa, and I've received an offer of work at home, otherwise I wouldn't leave at all. If there is an immigration bill passed this year, will I be able to return here if my new job doesn't work out?"

YOU and so many others including those who have already returned to Ireland are asking the very same question. But the answer is, at this juncture, we just don't know.

There is a long way to go as far as getting an immigration bill signed into law. Right now, there is a House bill and some White House proposals out there, and the Senate is due to commence its debate and craft its own bill at the end of next month.

Obviously, if provisions pass which contain a legalization component for the undocumented, their period of residence here will be waived. Will this hold true for those who have already left, and wish to return as part of a possible new temporary guest worker program? It's way too early to say at this point in time.

You've got a tempting job offer, and as you've been here for six years the stresses of undocumented life are surely taking their toll. Ireland must look particularly tempting now, especially as summer is right around the corner.

But if at all possible, you should consider remaining in the U.S. until it becomes clear how the immigration debate will go. If legislation passes and you are still here it will surely be easier to become legal. If it looks as if nothing will happen you can return home knowing that you made the right choice.

Republicans and Democrats are certainly talking about reform, as you'll read elsewhere in this issue. Hopefully a compromise will not be far behind.