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Is Immigration Reform Actually Here?
Question: I heard that immigration reform is coming. Is this true?
Answer: As a framework for reform, this is closer than we’ve come in years to meaningful change.The Senate “Gang of Eight” for introducing its bipartisan immigration reform proposal, allowing the Senate Judiciary Committee to forge ahead on the “markup” process. A proposal like this is a necessary first step in any path forward to create a common-sense immigration system that will meet the needs of the U.S. economy, businesses, and families, and integrate into our society aspiring Americans who work hard and want only a better life for themselves and their families. Therefore, it is not law, but it is a great step forward.
Question: Is it a comprehensive immigration bill?
Answer: It seems to be both enforcement and benefit. It is the biggest immigration bill to come out in nearly 20 years.I In fact, the last big immigration bill was severely anti-immigrant. There was almost nothing to benefit immigrants. This one seems much more balanced. In many ways, the language contained in the 844 page legislation reflects key issues facing immigrants today and is necessary to any successful immigration reform, such as border and interior enforcement, legalization, backlog reduction, asylum, family unification, and both current and future business needs.
Question: Is this immigration bill the perfect solution for the broken immigration system?
Answer: No compromise measure ever is. Is it a good bill? Yes, for the most part it is, and perhaps it is even a great bill in some respects. We do see some further changes that are desirable, and as we delve more deeply into the details, I’m sure we’ll find some needed tweaks. But as a framework for reform, this is closer than we’ve come in years to meaningful change. This bill does not shy away from addressing the difficult issues embedded in current immigration policy. It’s a good start, and I hope that by continuing to work across the aisle, the Senate can pass a bill that will meet our nation’s needs and the House will follow suit.
Question: What do you think finally prompted Congress to make this immigration bill?
Answer: It was a myriad of things and events. However, the past election again of President Obama seems to have finally been the catalyst to move this procedure forward.
Immigration Reform: Is it really coming?
Question: I have heard that there is going to be immigration reform. Can you shed some light on the subject and what we might expect?
Answer: Conservatives have tended to oppose immigration reform and amnesty for undocumented workers. Prominent Republicans, however, have recently come out in support of massive immigration overhauls. We could speculate as to why this is the case, but suffice it to say, immigration is on the table and both sides are talking.
At a Jan. 29 event in Las Vegas, President Barack Obama called for broad changes to the nation’s immigration laws. President Obama said the following:
“The time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform. … I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix the system that’s been broken for way too long. I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”
Obama’s immigration reform proposal includes providing undocumented workers a path to citizenship, a requirement for employers to check workers’ immigration status as well as stiffer penalties for those who break immigration law.
Although in the past many GOP lawmakers have been reluctant to support immigration reform, the tides may be changing. The immigration reform tide turned once and for all on Nov. 6, 2012. The elections produced a mandate for immigration reform and now it is time to act.
The 2013 State of the Union address and the President’s call for comprehensive immigration reform led to one of the only bipartisan standing ovations. Although the anti-immigrant movement has always been loud … their influence today is much diminished. Meanwhile, the power of the immigration reform movement is growing every day in depth and breadth.
A growing number of conservatives, including Tea Party lawmakers, religious groups and conservative media leaders, are part of the growing momentum calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who said in an interview with Politico after the 2012 elections that he plans to pursue measures that have long been avoided by his party, including carving an immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Many Republicans are beginning to question the sources for their information on the economic and social impacts of immigration.
Question: What can we do to help?
Answer: At this point since the ball is finally rolling after the draconian 1996 Anti-immigration bill, it is time to let your representatives know you support immigration reform and to keep the pressure on to move forward. Call, e-mail, write and speak out. You can do it tactfully and methodically, but the more the congressional representatives know that their constituents are behind them with immigration reform, the more likely we will have a new and complete comprehensive immigration reform bill.
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Question: Has there been any movement on the Immigration Reform Issue?
Answer: Actually there has. A comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill has been submitted to Congress. There are lots of different provisions to this bill and it is not law, but it is a good start.
Question: What are some of the more pertinent provisions?
Answer: Here is a summary of a few: Recapture of Immigrant Visas Lost to Bureaucratic Delay: The bill recaptures unused employment-based visas and family-sponsored visas and rolls over future unused visas to the next fiscal year. The bill provides new exemptions for certain aliens from cap on immigrant visas. Reclassification of Spouses and Minor Children of Lawful Permanent Residents as Immediate Relatives: The bill reclassifies spouses and children of lawful permanent residents as “immediate relatives” to promote the efficient reunification of families. Spouses and children of immediate relatives who are eligible to “accompany” or “follow to join” the primary applicant may use the same visa petition. Country Limits: Revises per country immigration limits for family-based immigration from 7 to 15 percent of total admissions and eliminates the employment-based caps. 3-Year Unlawful Presence Bar: The bill creates one 3-year bar of inadmissibility for noncitizens that are unlawfully present for more than one year and exempts additional populations. Relief for Orphans, Widows and Widowers: The bill extends the relief given to orphans, widows and widowers in the 2009 DHS Appropriations bill to certain relatives living outside the U.S. Children of Filipino World War II Veterans: The bill exempts the children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas. Fiancé Child Status Protection: The bill allows the DHS Secretary or the Attorney General to adjust the status of an individual immigrating to the U.S. on a fiancé visa and any accompanying minor children to conditional permanent residence. Affidavits of Support: The bill changes affidavit of support requirements to require sponsors to provide support at 100% of poverty level instead of 125% of poverty level. Retaining Workers Subject to Greencard Backlog: The bill allows workers who are eligible for adjustment of status to permanent residence but for whom a visa number is not currently available to apply for adjustment. Return of Talent Program: The bill permits eligible aliens to return to their country of origin for two years if their home country needs talent to help rebuild after a natural disaster or conflict. Permanent Partners: The bill defines “permanent partner” and “permanent partnership” as a term of art for inclusion in the INA and incorporates and integrates “permanent partners” into relevant sections of the INA.
Reforms to Specific Employment-Based Visa Categories: The bill permanently authorizes and includes enhancements to the EB-5 program, and permanent authorizes the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, the Nonimmigrant Nurses in Health Professional Shortage Areas Program, and the Conrad State 30 Program. It creates incentives for physicians to practice in medically underserved communities. Student Visa Reform: Permits foreign students to enter the U.S. with immigrant intent if they are a bona fide student.
There are many more provisions and not all beneficial. However, it is a great step in the right direction. Call and/or e-mail your congressional representative so that they will know their constituents want this Bill to go through.
Filed under: Immigration Attorney, Immigration Law, Immigration Lawyer, Immigration Reform, Immigration Reform Bills, los angeles immigration attorney | Tagged: Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Bill, Immigration Reform, immigration reform 2010 | Leave a comment »