A new immigration bill, passed by Judiciary Committee at the end of May, is seeking to modernize the immigration system in the U.S. This comprehensive and ambitious bill from a group of senators known as the “gang of 8” seeks to address all issues concerning the U.S. immigration system including citizenship.
The bill advocates for improving the security of U.S borders. It also suggests increased number of foreign skilled workers and is giving clear path to citizenship to more than 11 million illegal immigrants. Below are some key points from the immigration reform bill.
1) The “path to citizenship” gives details of how illegal immigrants living in the U.S. can obtain legal status and later apply for citizenship. As legal immigrants in the U.S., they will have full access to various federal government benefits. However, they will have to pay taxes, fines and other fees. It will take 10 years for the immigrants to be eligible for green cards.
2) Convicted felons and those that entered the country after 31st December 2011 will not be eligible for citizenship. Immigrants will be allowed to work for any employer. In addition, they will be allowed to travel in and out of the U.S. These rights will apply to immigrants, their spouses and children. However, this does not apply to same sex couples as they have not been considered.
3) Immigrants who benefit from this reform will be required to learn English and U.S. civics, pay taxes and maintain clean criminal records. Unauthorized immigrants who were deported for non criminal reasons before the end of 2011 can choose to legally reenter the U.S. The bill is also highly concerned with security on U.S. borders. Around $3 million is to be set aside for the implementation of a new strategy for border security. The borders will be safeguarded against any unauthorized crossings.
4) Employers are required to use the E-verify system to check on the status of immigrants they wish to employ. Those who won’t will be punished. The bill will also implement the end of the green card lottery. The last lottery will take place in 2014. Agricultural workers who are undocumented and have been working in the U.S. will get agricultural green cards after paying their taxes and fine of $400.
5) Qualified doctors, managers and business executives will also be allowed into the U.S. There will be the increase of skilled worker H1B visa to 110,000 per year. Skilled immigrant workers will get paid higher than American workers to avoid creating competition between the American and immigrant skilled workers.
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