On 04/16/2013 the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” was introduced into the Senate. This bill summarizes a proposed comprehensive immigration reform, also referred to as an “immigration amnesty.” Next , this bill will be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a procedure that allows any Senator on the committee to offer revisions or comments, known as “amendments.” If the bill is able to secure a majority of the votes on the committee it will move on to the Senate. As most issues before the Senate these days, the bill will most likely be filibustered. It means that it will need 60 yes votes to end debate and move on to a final vote. We receive a lot of inquiries from individuals currently in unlawful immigration status in the US asking to explain what this new immigration reform or immigration amnesty is all about and how it would apply to their situation. First and foremost, we would like to remind everybody that at this point in time this bill is just a proposal and is not law. As of right now, an immigration reform or an immigration amnesty has not been passed. As many or our prospective and current clients, we are very hopeful and optimistic that a much-needed comprehensive immigration reform, also known as immigration amnesty, will pass in 2013!
Who would be eligible for immigration reform benefits once it passes?
1) An individual must be in unlawful status in the US.
2) Residence in the US before December 31, 2011 and maintenance of continuous physical presence since then.
3) Payment of a $500 penalty fee (waived for DREAMers) and assessed taxes.
Those eligible will obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant Status. What are going to be the rights or individuals in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status?
1) They could petition for their spouses and children but those beneficiaries must be in the US;
2) They can work for any employer and travel outside of the United States.
Registered Provisional Immigrant Status status will be for 6 years.It could be renewed if the immigrant does not commit any acts that would render the alien deportable. After 10 years (5 years for DREAMers), individuals in Registered Provisional Immigrant status may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status (green card) 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) Demonstrated 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.