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