If passed as written, here is what immigration reform will look like:
– Border Security
– Increased surveillance and fencing along the southern border
– Additional personnel will be hired, primarily along the Southern border
– Prosecution of illegal border crossings will increase
– Improved inter-agency communication and cooperation
– Improved training
– Funding is provided along with increased funding for reimbursement to states
– Immigrant status changes are tied to implementation milestones
– Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI)
– Eligible if in the country before December 31, 2011. Spouses and children can be included if in the country. Persons currently pending removal may also appl
– Spouses, children, or parents of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who were deported for non-criminal reasons but who were in the country prior to December 31, 2011, may apply for re-entry. DREAM Act eligible children are also allowed to apply for re-entry.
– Application window is one year with an additional year extension allowed
– Must pass a criminal background check
– Pay $500 penalty, allowed taxes, and processing fee
– While in RPI status, immigrant is ineligible for any means-tested public assistance, certain tax credits, or benefits under Obamacare.
– May not apply for permanent resident status for 10 years; five years if Dream Act or Agricultural Program. Dream Act persons can immediately apply for citizenship once a permanent resident.
– RPI applicants for permanent residency go to the back of the line.
– Changes to legal immigration
– Eliminates the backlog for family and employment-based visas
– Expands definition of immediate relative
– Eliminates the Diversity Visa program after 2014
– Increases emphasis on highly skilled workers, those earning degrees, and entrepreneurs
– Creates a merit based visa
– Improves H-1B program while adding stricter provisions for employers to ensure U.S. workers are not disadvantaged
– Replaces the agricultural H-2A visa with a W-2 / W-3 visa, streamlining the process
– Provides for an expedited path to permanent residency, after payment of $400 fine and all back taxes and passing a criminal background check for farm workers and their families who have a proven “substantial prior commitment”.
– Creates a W-visa for unskilled workers. Employers are required to register and prove need.
– Replaces I-9 employment verification form with mandatory use of E-Verify