Proposed Immigration Bill

Immigration Reform:  Follow the yellow brick road to citizenship!

One of the main aspects of the proposed immigration reform is to provide a path to legalization and to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US today.  After much debate and studies, it became the consensus that it would behoove the American public and our economy to allow these individuals to come out of the shadows and become legal residents of the US, encouraging them to pay taxes and be counted in their contribution to the economy of this country.  The majority of these individuals are law abiding, hard-working and dedicated to improving the lives of their families and communities.

The proposed immigration reform initiative, presented to the Senate by the “Gang of 8”, is a well thought out compromise to the extreme views of the republicans and democrats in this country.   First, “Registered Provisional Immigrant Status” (RPI status) cannot even be applied for until the “securing of the borders” initiative has been implemented.  There are separate requirements for “securing the border”, including building a wall as well having more “boots on the ground” at the US-Mexican border.  Once, and only once, Congress is satisfied that the program is in place, that the wall has been built and borders secured, can the process of changing status for the unlawful residents in the US start.

Once the “Securing of the Borders” has been effectively established, the government can start processing applications for adjusting the status of the undocumented immigrants to “Registered Provisional Immigrant Status” if the following eligibility criteria are met:

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  •  Residence in the United States prior to December 31, 2011 and maintenance of continuous physical presence since then.
  • Paid a $500 penalty fee (except for DREAM Act eligible students), and assessed taxes, per adult applicant in addition to all applicable fees required to pay for the cost of processing the application.
  • Ineligible if:
    o Convicted of an aggravated felony;
    o Convicted of a felony;
    o Convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors;
    o Convicted of an offense under foreign law;
    o Unlawfully Voted; and Inadmissible for Criminal, National Security, Public Health, or other morality grounds.

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Under the proposed Immigration Reform bill, the application period will be for 1 year with the possibility of extension by the Secretary for an additional 1 year.

RPI status shall last for a 6-year term that is renewable if the immigrant does not commit any acts that would render the alien deportable. Another $500 penalty fee is applicable at this time.

A processing fee will most likely be collected from individuals who register for RPI status.  The amount of this fee has yet to be determined.

After 10 years, aliens in RPI status may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status through the same Merit Based System everyone else must use to earn a green card (described below) if the following things have occurred:

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  • The alien maintained continuous physical presence
  • They paid all taxes owed during the period that they are in status as an RPI
  • They worked in the United States regularly;
  • And demonstrated knowledge of Civics and English
  • All people currently waiting for family and employment green cards as of the date of enactment have had their priority date become current.
  • A $1,000 penalty fee is rendered

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People in DREAM Act Status and the Agricultural Program can get their green cards in 5 years and DREAM Act kids will be eligible for citizenship immediately after they get their green cards

Additional facts about the proposed Immigration Reform bill:
Individuals with removal orders will be permitted to apply as will aliens currently in removal proceedings.  Other provisions may also be added to the Immigration Reform bill that may provide some relief for other individuals, as well as some restrictions, such as on tax or social benefits.  The details will be determined if and when the legislation actually gets approved and becomes law.  Now that the legislation for Immigration Reform has been introduced, many changes and further compromises may need to be made for a bi-partisan support and passing of the bill.

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