Highlights of Initial Review of New Senate Bill on Immigration Reform

On 04/16/2013, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” was introduced in the Senate. The proposed legislation represents a comprehensive reform of the immigration system. The legislation is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it will be given several hearings and votes will be taken on various revisions or comments, known as “amendments”. If the final amended bill is able to secure a majority of the votes on the committee it will advance to the Senate floor for a full vote. Like most issues before the Senate these days, the bill will likely be threatened by a potential filibuster. This means that it will need 60 “yes” votes to end the debate and move on to a final vote. If the bill were to pass the Senate, it would head to the House of Representatives to undergo a similar process before being sent to the President.

We are receiving a lot of inquiries from individuals currently in unlawful immigration status in the US asking to explain what this new immigration reform is all about and how it would apply to their situation. We would like to remind everybody that at this point in time this bill is just a proposal and not law. As of right now, an immigration reform bill has not been passed.

Who would be eligible for immigration reform under the current Senate proposal?

  1. Must be in unlawful status in the US.
  2. Must have resided in the US since before December 31, 2011 and maintained a continuous physical presence since then.
  3. Must pay $500.00 penalty fee (waived for DREAMers) and assessed taxes. Those eligible will obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant Status.
  4. Individuals with removal orders will be permitted to apply as will those currently in removal proceedings.

What will be the rights of individuals in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status?

  1. They can petition for their spouses and children that are already in the United States.
  2. They can work for any employer and travel outside of the United States.
  3. Individuals outside of the U.S. who were previously here before December 31, 2011 and were deported for non-criminal reasons can apply to re-enter the U.S. in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI), if they are the spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. Citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, or are eligible as a DREAMers.

The Registered Provisional Immigrant Status will last for 6 years. It is renewable if the immigrant does not commit any acts that would render the alien deportable. After 10 years (5 years for DREAMers), individuals with Registered Provisional Immigrant Status may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status (Green Card Holder) if they:

  1. Maintained continuous physical presence in the US.
  2. Paid all taxes owed during the period that they are in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status.
  3. Worked in the US regularly.
  4. Can demonstrate knowledge of Civics and English.

Who won’t be eligible?

  1. Individuals convicted of an aggravated felony.
  2. Individuals convicted of a felony.
  3. Individuals convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors.
  4. Individuals convicted of an offense under foreign law.
  5. Individuals who have unlawfully voted.
  6. Individuals inadmissible for criminal, national security, public health, or other morality grounds.

We at Murray Osorio PLLC hope that an immigration reform bill will pass that will truly help many of our clients, prospective clients and other readers.

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Attorneys dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (800) 929-7142, or fill out our contact form.

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