Carl Shusterman, former INS Trial Attorney, writes in his “Shusterman’s Immigration Update” (April 2013; Volume Eighteen, Number Four) that a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill will be introduced in April when Congress reconvenes. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has predicted that a CIR bill will be passed by Congress by this summer.
The bill aims to establish a “pathway to citizenship” for the 11 million undocumented persons present in the United States, and further, to reform the immigration system of the United States.
Some components of the upcoming bill – likely several hundred pages in length – include:
To legalize their status, undocumented persons will need to learn English and pay fines and back taxes. They will gain a place “in line” after those who have applied for green cards. They may wait up to ten years to become permanent residents. In the meantime, they can qualify for work permits, apply for social security cards and drivers licenses. Once in possession of green cards, the pathway to citizenship may be shortened by two years.
Some family-based preference categories may be eliminated – particularly the F3 category for married sons and daughters and the F4 category for brothers and sisters. However, spouses and children of permanent residents may be deemed “immediate relatives” in order not to separate members of nuclear families for upwards of two years.
Temporary work visas may change. The general cap on H-1B visas may be doubled from 65,000 to 130,000 per year with increased fees for outsourcing firms. H-4 spouses, under certain circumstances, may be eligible for employment authorization documents. Businesses and labor unions are working together to decide how to reform the visa system for temporary nonprofessional workers.
Employment-based preference categories may grow. For example, persons with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduate degrees from universities in the U.S. may be able to qualify for green cards in much larger numbers. This may also be true for persons of very high, unusual ability and for terrific professors and researchers.
This article was written by Staff