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Gang of 8 Update: Details Emerge

Senate Bill 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, is being touted as of the most comprehensive legislative proposals in the United States since the Patriot Act and Dodd-Frank. At more than 840 pages, the massive immigration reform plan is sponsored by the “Gang of 8,” a bipartisan group of Senators from various states, which include the key political and immigration battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, and New Jersey.

The S.744 sponsors are political heavyweights who seem to be fully committed to providing a clear way for immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship. This Senate bill is more than 840 pages long, but various details about the reform process are being released by the White House and immigration advocacy groups. There are several topics related to border security and enforcement, but one of the most salient points deals with the legalization process for undocumented immigrants.

Under the proposed eligibility guidelines and new process for adjustment of status, many of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will have an opportunity to become citizens. The proposed law does not streamline the naturalization process by any means, but it creates a new legal status that focuses on allowing immigrants to become legally employed while they wait for further adjustment of status.

The Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status

Instead of including amnesty provisions, S.744 sets out eligibility criteria for residency, physical presence and criminal records. Undocumented immigrants or those who think they may be unlawfully residing in the U.S. may be eligible for RPI status as long as they arrived prior to December 21, 2011. They must, however, have physically remained in the U.S. since.

Immigrants who adjust their status to RPI will be able to work in the U.S.; they will also be able to travel outside of the country under certain conditions. RPI status may also extend to spouses and children as long as they are in the U.S. at the time of the petition. For more information about permanent residency through employment, please click here.

The parameters of legal immigration and the path to American citizenship will likely remain complex affairs under S.744, but will at least provide immigrants will the opportunity to work and travel. To see if you are eligible for RPI status, please contact the immigration law office of Kazmi and Sakata at 858-874-0711.

May 2024