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Senate Introduces Their Version of Immigration Reform

Senate Introduces Their Version of Immigration Reform

Recently, a bi-partisan group of Senators have introduced framework that would call for eventual citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.  The group hopes to pass the bill through the Senate by late spring or summer.

The plan calls for a path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship for many of the illegal immigrants in the U.S.  The framework wishes to afford benefits to undocumented workers and attempts to speed the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. as children.

The Senators also wish to strengthen prohibitions against racial profiling and inappropriate use of force through an increase in training of border patrol officers as well as an increase in oversight. 

Those who came to or remained in the U.S. without permission will be required to register with the government.  For these immigrants, in order to earn probationary legal status and work and live legally in the U.S., they must pass a background check and settle their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes.  Immigrants with a serious criminal background or pose a threat to national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation.  Deportation is also a consequence for illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

The plan also calls for a tightening of border security.  This includes an entry/exist system that trackers whether all persons entering the US on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required by law, an increase in unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance equipment, and an increase of agents between ports of entry.  The purpose is to decrease the number of successful illegal border crossings.

Along with tightening of border security, the Senators also wish to strengthen employment verification, preventing identity theft and ending the hiring of undocumented workers.  However, the plan also calls for businesses to be able to hire low-skilled workers in a timely manner when Americans are unavailable or unwilling to fill jobs. 

For any immigrant on probationary status, proposed enforcement measures are required to be completed first before a green card can be earned.  Once these enforcement measures are completed, those with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the U.S., and current employment, among other requirements.  This is done in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency.  Those that successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

Those who are present without lawful status, except those who entered the U.S. as minor children OR those working without legal status in the U.S. agriculture industry, will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time the legislation is enacted, has received their green card. 

Those who entered the US as minor children will not face the same requirements as other individuals in order to earn a path to citizenship.

Those who work in the US agriculture industry will earn a path to citizenship through a different process under the new agricultural worker program. 

President Obama is also expected to introduce his immigration reform plan on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.  It is expected to be similar to the Senators’ proposal.

These are just proposals and nothing has been made into law or binding effect as of yet.  None of the above information is to be construed as legal advice.  Immigration law and reform is complicated and often times difficult to understand.  We encourage you to consult an experienced immigration attorney that can discuss the benefits, as well as potential consequences, of current immigration law and proposed reform and how it can affect you or your family.  We offer a free 30 minute consultation in person or over the phone.  Please contact Pablo Zamora today at (619) 796-1765 or at

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All the services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by the firm or corporation shall be provided by an active member of the State Bar or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. Pablo Zamora is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. Pablo Zamora is not an attorney licensed to practice law in California but is an attorney licensed in another state or territory of the United States and is authorized by federal law to represent persons before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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