IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE
   UPDATE: April 29, 2013 -- On April 16, 2013, a group of eight Republican and Democratic Senators introduced a new bill entitled “S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” If passed without major changes, this bill will be a huge overhaul of our broken immigration system, creating a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status. However, this is only a bill and NOT a law, its passage uncertain. It will likely take a long time and require many concessions for this bill to become law. Therefore, at IMMIGRANT REP we strongly urge anyone who believes that they may qualify for any of the benefits of this bill to refrain from asking the government for relief under the provisions of this bill until it becomes the law. In the meantime, please  CONTACT US for a free and confidential consultation.


The bill, 800+ pages in length, contains the following basic provisions:


• Requires the Department of Homeland Security to submit within 180 days of the passage of this bill a plan for strengthening the security of the southern border;


• Perhaps most importantly, this bill creates new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) legal status for those who do not have legal status and have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S. since December 31, 2011 or earlier, provided they pay back-taxes, a $500 penalty and a processing fee. Furthermore, those with either: 1) a single felony, 2) three misdemeanors, or 3) who fall under any of the many other disqualifying grounds outlined in the bill, cannot obtain RPI status. RPI’s must maintain stable employment and satisfy other requirements throughout the duration of their RPI status or they risk losing it after six years and may obtain LPR status after ten years. Note that those who obtain RPI status will not be eligible for any means-tested public benefits;


• Requires ALL EMPLOYERS to use the federal E-Verify system to detect illegal workers, after a five-year phase-in period;


• Creates the new, “INVEST” non-immigrant visa category for overseas entrepreneurs starting new companies in the U.S., with much lower requirements than the EB-5. It will be valid for three years and can be extended if certain employment and revenue benchmarks are met;


• Increases the number of available H-1B visas from 65,000 per year to 110,000 by 2015, and may gradually increase these to as high as 180,000 (but H-1B dependent employers will have to pay higher fees); and


• Creates a new “W” visa for low-skilled workers.


   As previously stated, this a very long bill and it contains many other provisions. Therefore, please keep in mind that those listed above are not the only provisions in this bill nor a full description of those listed, but a general overview of those provisions that we believe will have the greatest impact. The full text of the bill can be found HERE. A very helpful summary provided by the American Immigration Lawyers Association can be found HERE.

   At Immigrant Rep, we are continuing to monitor this important piece of legislation as it makes its way through Congress and, possibly, to the President. Please continue checking our website for other important updates. Again, we remind you that it is never too early to obtain a consultation from an experienced immigration attorney. In any case, you should refrain from taking action - even if you believe that you qualify for RPI status or any other benefits that this bill may offer - unless and until this bill is in fact signed into law.

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