After the terror attacks in Boston, some conservative members of the United States Senate wanted to delay comprehensive immigration reform legislation because of national security concerns relating to the immigration system and any reforms to it. Fortunately, however, according to a report from the Washington Post, “Immigration reform is unlikely to be slowed because of the Boston bombing.” Several leaders of the Republican Senators have stated that the immigration reform debate should proceed but with more attention paid to the role of national security in the proposed legislation.
COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM FACTS
A tentative bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate has been introduced. The bill provides for a “pathway to citizenship” subsequent to the issuance of a four-year renewable work permit. According to the bill, in order to be eligible for Legal Permanent Status, immigrants would have to:
- Prove presence before December 31, 2011 and residence since December 31, 2011
- Provide proof of regular employment
- Pay fines and back taxes
- Demonstrate proficiency in English or learn it
- Pass criminal background checks
A ten-year-waiting period would also be enforced before immigrants on the pathway could gain Legal Permanent Status. The opportunity to gain citizenship would follow after three years of Legal Permanent Status. However, the pathway to citizenship, which begins with immigrant eligibility for Provisional Legal Status, would not be made available until several border and immigration goalsare met:
- Completion of a southern border fence
- Adoption of an electronic exit system at airports and seaports
- Creation of a merit-based visa and a W-visa for low-skilled workers
- Adoption of the E-Verify system, which will become mandatory
- Adoption of a biometric work authorization card system for non-citizens
- Reduction of the backlog for family- and employment-based visas
Family-sponsored petitions for siblings of and married sons and daughters of US citizens may no longer be filed. We urge you to contact the office immediately before the opportunity to file these petitions is lost!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office!
Susan W. Scheer and Staff