The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act states undocumented immigrants would be given one year (after the border security goal has been met) to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status. This status would be extended by the Secretary of Homeland Security if needed.
RPI Status would grant undocumented immigrants the right to work wherever they care to within the United States for six years. After those six years have expired, undocumented immigrants can then re-apply if they meet all the criteria for RPI Status.
After a period of ten years, undocumented immigrants would then be allowed to apply for permanent resident status provided that :
- They meet the necessary criteria for permanent residency applied to all applicants for permanent residency; and
- The priority dates for all of the other applicants for permanent residency are either on or past the date of the enactment of the legislation. Priority dates are the same dates on which a particular immigration petition is accepted and are effectively the place in line that an immigrant holds while they wait to immigrate. In other words, everyone who applied for immigration before the initiation of the RPI Status legislation would have been given the opportunity to apply for a green card before RPI Status immigrants can get their green cards.
RPI Status Eligibility
There would be quite a few requirements that undocumented immigrants would have to meet to apply for RPI Status. Below we will discuss some of the more salient ones:
Undocumented immigrants who wish to apply for RPI Status would have to have been in the United States by December 31, 2011 (the cut-off date) in order to apply. This is to prevent anyone from immigrating illegally to take advantage of the new program.
Applicants would also have had to remain in the United States from December 31, 2011 onward in order to be eligible.
Undocumented immigrants who were present in the US before the cut-off date but were deported or removed would be able to apply to come back to the US under RPI Status as long as the reason for their removal was non-criminal and they are the immediate relative of a US citizen or permanent resident.
In fact, any criminal convictions would render immigrants ineligible for RPI Status. One or two misdemeanor charges may be acceptable, but three would disqualify an applicant. People who voted illegally would not be allowed to apply for RPI Status.
The fee for applying for RPI Status would be $500; however, the Secretary of Homeland Security may add an additional amount to cover the costs of processing these applications. After RPI Status expires (six years) another $500 fee will be assessed upon re-application.
In order to eventually become a permanent resident through this program RPI Status immigrants would also:
- Have been physically present in the United States continuously.
- Have paid their taxes on a yearly basis.
- Be reasonably competent in the English language and US civics.
- Be regularly employed.
- Pay a $1000 fee.
DREAMers are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are currently pursuing educational goals in the US as defined by the original DREAM Act.
DREAMers would be exempted from a few requirements of RPI Status:
- They would not need to pay the $500 registration fee.
- If they were deported before December 31, 2011 they would be able to apply for RPI Status even though they have no immediate relative in the United States.
- DREAMers would get their green cards in five years instead of ten if they are able to meet the necessary requirements.
More on Immigration Reform:
- Immigration Reform 2013
- Gang of 8
- Earned Citizenship
- Streamlining Immigration
- Strengthening Border Security
- More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants