by Grace Alano
News agencies are revealing an advanced memo of the bipartisan group of Senator’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. THIS IS NOT THE BILL! THE BILL WILL BE HUNDREDS OF PAGES LONG AND IS NOT PUBLIC YET! Here are some possible key provisions being reported in the press:
- The cut-off date for those applying for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI) is December 31, 2011. Undocumented immigrants without serious criminal convictions have one year – which may be extended – to apply for RPI.
- An applicant’s spouse and children can be sponsored at the same time. There is no provision yet for same-sex couples.
- Those in RPI status may become eligible to apply for permanent resident status after 10 years, showing they have worked regularly, paid taxes, learned English and Civics. They must also pay a $100 penalty. After three years they may apply for citizenship.
- DREAMers may apply for residence in five years.
- Undocumented farm workers will become eligible for an agricultural card. They must pay taxes and a $400 fine. Their spouses and minor children can get derivative status.
- This was interesting to see: “The bill addresses the issue of families who have been separated through deportation. Undocumented immigrants who had been deported for non-criminal reasons but who had been in the U.S. before the end of 2011 can reapply to re-enter and apply for RPI status, if they are the spouse of or parent to a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or a Dreamer eligible for the DREAM Act.”
- The sibling of U.S. citizens category will be eliminated, but I am assuming that those who have already been petitioned will be grandfathered in.
- Adult children of U.S. citizens who are married and over 31 years old will also be eliminated.
- The “immediate relative” category, where a visa number is always available, will also have a change, but I am unclear what it is from the article.
- Those with doctorates in the science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) fields, will be exempted from annual visa limits, as well as qualified physicians and multi-national managers and executives.
- There will be a new startup visa for entrepreneurs.
- There will be a merit-based program with points for education and employment.
- The cap will increase to 110,000 for H1-B visas.