A Sneak Preview Of Some Provisions In The Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill To Be Introduced Next Week

by Alan Lee, Esq.

From an amalgamation of sources including The New York Times and the American Immigration Lawyers spring conference, the following appears to be some of the more interesting aspects of the Senate bill that will likely be introduced on Tuesday, April 16th.

  1. The F-4 category for siblings of U. S. citizens will be discontinued, but anyone already in line will reach the front of the line.
  2. The F-2A category for spouses and children under the age of 21 and unmarried of lawful permanent residents will be moved into a non-quota category which will speed up this category tremendously and, as the visa numbers will no longer be needed, they along with the numbers for the F-4 category will be assigned to other immigrant visa categories.
  3. There will be no "special" path to citizenship for the approximate 11.5 million undocumented immigrants, who will have to wait 10 years before beginning to apply with other groups for green cards, after which they can obtain citizenship in 3 years. They will be eligible for merit green cards if they remain in good standing, have learned English and passed other requirements, and remain employed for 10 years. The New York Times reports that at the end of 10 years, 138,000 merit-based visas every year would be given to them along with high skilled foreigners in technology and science, employees with the middle range of white-collar skills, and low-wage workers. For the undocumented, there will be more requirements at the renewal stage and even more at the time of green card adjustment of status such as learning English, work requirements and the payment of taxes.
  4. The cutoff date for undocumented immigrants to benefit from the Senate bill will be entry to the U.S. by December 31, 2011. Anyone entering after that date will not be eligible and hundreds of thousands are estimated as being in this group.
  5. For the H-1B program, there will be more numbers, but a renewed emphasis on compliance and solidification of the H-1B dependency provisions.
  6. The Senate bill will be approximately 1000 - 1500 pages long.
Many more details will undoubtedly be released over the weekend and on Monday before the bill's showcase. The schedule appears to be a hearing on Wednesday, April 17th, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and optimistically markups in May at the committee level for all amendments, consideration at the committee level in June and to the Senate floor in the same month. The House is working on its own bill which is not as far along, and the common hope is to have a bill out of Congress by the end of the summer.

This article © 2013 Alan Lee, Esq.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Director, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer in 2012. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.