Immigration Bill Sent to Senate Floor

Immigration Bill Senate
(DHS.gov)

The Senate Judiciary Committee finished amending the Gang of 8’s immigration reform bill yesterday evening. The Committee has now sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

After five hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the immigration bill with a 13-5 vote. The Senate vote is expected to take place next month.

In a statement, Obama said he supports the bill, saying it is “largely consistent with the principles of common-sense reform I have proposed and meets the challenge of fixing our broken immigration system.”

The immigration reform bill addresses border security, a path to citizenship, high-skilled workers, low-skilled workers, family immigration and employment verification. These are the general proposals of the nearly 1000-page bill:

Border Security

  • The Border Security goals include stopping 90 percent of would-be crossers; maintaining surveillance of the entire U.S.-Mexican border; developing a plan for drones and more agents; and building a fence.
  • These goals must become 90 percent effective within five years after the enactment of the bill. A Southern Border Security Commission will have to meet and revise their strategy if those goals are not met within the five years.
  • A path to citizenship cannot be created until border security goals are met.

Path to Citizenship

  • 11 million undocumented immigrants will be granted a legal status called Registered Provisional Immigrant Status. After 10 years of provisional status, eligible RPIs will be able to apply for a Green Card.
  • RPIs who came to the U.S. as children will be eligible for a Green Card after five years.
  • People deported for noncriminal criminals will be able re-enter under RPI status if they have a citizen or permanent resident family member or if they came to the U.S. as children.

High-skilled Workers

  • The H-1B visa cap will be raised from 65,000 to 110,000 a year.
  • 25,000 H-1B visas will be reserved just for people with advanced degrees in STEM.
  • A Startup visa will be created.
  • A merit visa with a 250,000 per year cap will be created.
  • The Green Card Lottery will be eliminated to make more employment- and merit-based visas available.

Low-skilled Workers

  • A W visa with a cap of 200,000 per year cap will be created.
  • An Agriculture Worker Visa program will be established.

Family Immigration

  • U.S. citizens will no longer be able to sponsor their siblings but will be able to sponsor their married sons and daughters under the age of 31.
  • There will no longer be a limit on immediate relative Green Cards through a permanent resident family member.

Employment Verification

  • All employers will be required to use E-verify.

 

More on Immigration Reform:

  • Immigration Reform 2013
  • Gang of 8
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Immigration
  • Strengthening Border Security
  • More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants