Immigration Reform – The Time To Act Is NOW!
If you are illegal, undocumented or "out of status" in the United States, the time to act is now! All those that find themselves in an illegal status should definitely look at the past to properly prepare for the future. Past immigration laws and legalization programs provide a strong indication of what the Obama Immigration Reform Legislation will bring.
After several failed attempts at reforming the current U.S. immigration system, the time now seems right for real comprehensive Immigration Reform. On January 28, 2013, eight Senators (Democrats and Republicans) proposed a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a Government process for legalizing the estimated 11 million "illegal aliens" in the U.S., and implement measures to better protect against people entering the U.S. illegally.
According to press releases, the current proposal:
- Provides a path to legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already here, as long as the borders are more properly secured and people who are with visas in the USA are better tracked.
- Will reform the legal immigration system, such as giving Permanent Residence (Green Cards) to foreigners who have university degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.
- Improve the employment verification system so that employers will not hire illegals.
Allows more low-skill workers into the USA to work in jobs where companies cannot find U.S. workers. This most likely refers to agricultural workers.
On January 29, President Obama announced an immigration reform program. President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has 4 parts:
(1) Continue to improve border security;
(2) Punish companies that hire workers who don't have work permits;
(3) Make sure that undocumented immigrants pay their taxes and a penalty, pass a criminal background check, and learn English;
(4) Streamline the legal immigration system.
Now also a group of a several members of the House of Representatives (including both Democrats and Republicans) is working on a proposal to reform the immigration system, similar to proposals by Senate negotiators and President Barack Obama.
Look to the Past for Guidance
The last immigration legalization program happened in the year 2001, when the U.S. Congress extended the so-called "LIFE ACT.” In particular, the “245(i)" law (Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA) came back for a few months, until April 30, 2001.
Here is what the 245(i) law provided for. Illegal aliens were allowed to apply for a Green Card if they met the following conditions:
- They had a qualified family sponsor (such as a husband/wife, parent or child) or a U.S. company sponsor (their employer) to file an immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140) or application for labor certification filed on or before April 30, 2001.
- They were physically present in the United States on or before December 21, 2000.
- They had not committed criminal offenses.
The current proposal advanced by President Obama resembles that prior 245(i) law.
Take Action Now
If you are in the U.S. without valid status, entered illegally, etc., now is the time to act. All legalization programs have contained a “Registration Period,” which means you only are given a limited time to register and comply. If one does not file the application during this period or window, then the opportunity is gone and one cannot apply anymore.
Due to estimates of 11 – 15 million illegals in the U.S., you need to take steps now to make sure you timely obtain necessary documents, information, translations and take all steps to prepare. You don’t want your case to be at the end of that line!
The time to act is now! Meet with a qualified immigration attorney to discuss your options.