Immigration Reform

The proposed immigration reform bill S.744 proposed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight has been approved by the Senate and now waits to be voted on in the House. We will keep this page updated as we hear more news.

Learn more about Immigration Reform:

Earned Legalization
Procedure
Employment Sponsorship
Family Based Sponsorship
Employment Based Sponsorship
W Visas
Dream Act
Agricultural Workers
Timeline

Earned Legalization

Provide provisional resident status to those in the country illegally as of Dec. 31, 2011. Those who obtain provisional status would have to renew their status several times over ten years before obtaining a lawful resident status green card. Requires unauthorized workers to pay back taxes before obtaining provisional resident status.

-Requires those qualified to pay all back taxes.
-Can’t have a felony or three misdemeanors.
-Spouses and children are eligible.
-Pay a $500 fee.

-Speed up waiting time for green cards for people with approved visa petitions.
-Provide green cards to children and young adults who qualify for the Dream Act.
-Increase the number of H-1B visas by 241% from 85,000 to 205,000.
-Provide new work visas for skilled and unskilled workers.
-People who have been deported may come back and get provisional status if they have close relations.

Procedure

-Application
-Background checks
-Interview

Employment Sponsorship

-There will be two tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2, with 125,000 visas for each tier.
-Five years track.

-Tier 1 – High skilled workers with a master’s degree or above.
-Tier 2 – Everybody else.

-Based on a point system where you can collect points from:
-Education
-Years of employment in the U.S.
-Occupation
-Civic involvement (volunteerism)
-Proficiency in the English language
-Family ties
-Age
-Nationality
-System will favor the young and educated who are fluent in English.

Family Based Sponsorship

-For spouses and children of provisional residents.
-Brothers and sisters are no longer eligible.
-Cannot file for children over 30 years old.

Employment Based Sponsorship

-Immediate green cards for people with master’s degree or higher in the U.S. for science, technology, engineering or math.
-140,000 visas available for employment based sponsorship but spouses and children are not part of that count.
-Increase in H-1B visas.

W Visas

-Up to 200,000 people.
-Good for 3 years.
-You can apply for green cards based on the new merit system without job sponsorship.

Dream Act

-They youth must file for provisional resident status.
-Was under 16 years old when they entered the country and has a high school diploma or GED.
-Once they get provisional resident status they can apply for citizenship immediately.

Agricultural Workers

-They must have worked at least 100 days on a farm in the last two years ending Dec. 31, 2011.
-Pay $500 penalty and pass background checks.
-Get a blue card which lasts for eight years.
-They can apply for provisional resident status after five years if they work in agriculture and pay their back taxes.

Timeline

The immigration reform debate has dominated media coverage with each step forward or trip backwards. With all of the emerging details and the vast array of channels the proposed legislation needs to pass through, we thought it would be helpful to offer up a timeline of important events in the bills development.

President Obama Unveils Immigration Reform Proposal
On Jan. 29, 2013, President Barack Obama unveils his immigration reform proposal. The plan consists of four unique parts that would make up a comprehensive plan that would allow the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. a clearer path to citizenship.

President Obama’s plan would also strengthen the U.S. Mexican border and enhance infrastructure, streamline legal immigration for students, entrepreneurs and families, and crack down on employers who knowingly hire unauthorized immigrant workers.

Gang of Eight Introduce Bipartisan Bill
The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced an immigration reform bill to Senate that highlights details proposed by President Obama on April 17, 2013. The bill offers a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the country before Dec. 31, 2011. It also provides increased funding to increase security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border, increased the number of high skilled visas, and created new visas for unskilled workers.

Bill Approved in the Senate
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the immigration reform bill in a vote of 13-5 on May 21, 2013 after three weeks of markups. Over 300 amendments were proposed for the bill with 141 approved. The bill remained largely intact and is sent to be voted on in the Senate.

Senate Votes to Allow Debate on Immigration Reform Bill
June 11, 2013, the Senate voted 82 to 15 in favor of the motion to officially allow debate to move forward on the proposed immigration reform bill. Again, the bill remained largely intact after members of the Gang of Eight made it clear that they would hear recommendations to improve the bill but would not make significant changes that would alter the initial framework of the legislation.

Senate Approves Immigration Reform Bill
After weeks of markups and proposed amendments, the Senate approves the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill on June 27, 2013. The bill is passed by a vote of 68 to 32, including 14 Republicans.

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