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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation
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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Presentation

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NaFFAA PA 3rd Conference Presentation on Comprehensive Immigration Reform …

NaFFAA PA 3rd Conference Presentation on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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  • 1. NaFFAA, P.A. 3rd STATE SUMMIT: COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM Patricia Astorga, Esq.
  • 2. Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act  Also known as “S. 744”  a broad-based proposal for reforming the U.S. immigration system written by a bipartisan group of eight Senators known as the “Gang of Eight.”
  • 3. “Gang of Eight” Senators Picture taken from: http://immigrationsarasota.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GANG-OF-EIGHT.jpg
  • 4. What Does S.744 Do?  makes changes to the family and employment-based visa categories for immigrants  provides critical due-process protections  increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to supplement all sectors of the workforce  provides legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants within the United States.
  • 5. How is S.744 Organized?  Border Security (Title I)  Immigrant Visas (Title II)  Interior Enforcement (Title III)  Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs (Title IV)  Jobs for Youth (Title V)
  • 6. One of the key aspects of the bill: A new “W” worker program  Could expand over time based on workforce needs  Although W-visas are for a limited duration, workers in W status may eventually be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence, marking the first time that such less-skilled nonimmigrant workers would be allowed to transition to permanent resident status without an employer’s sponsorship
  • 7. Other key aspects:  Expands permanent visas for many foreign graduates from U.S. universities in the sciences and related fields  Increases over time the number of temporary high- skilled visas based on demand  Expands opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to come to the U.S.
  • 8. A Closer Look at Title II Immigrant Visas
  • 9. Registered Provisional Immigrant  Upon enactment of the bill, undocumented immigrants will be allowed to register for the new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program almost immediately.
  • 10. Registered Provisional Immigrant  legal status for an initial period of 6 years  an optional renewal of an additional 6 years  After 10 years of lawful status the registered provisional immigrant could apply to adjust status to permanent residence and eventually, three years later, naturalize.  That's 10 years to permanent residency, green card status, and 13 years to citizenship.  During the application process for RPI status, applicants will not be deported or removed.
  • 11. Registered Provisional Immigrant 1. Physical Presence  Be physically present in the U.S. when submitting RPI application.  Be physically present in the U.S. on or before Dec. 31, 2011.  Have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S. from Dec. 31, 2011 until status is granted, unless absence was "brief, casual or innocent."
  • 12. Registered Provisional Immigrant 2. Crime The following charges are grounds for ineligibility:  Felony conviction, unless "an essential element [of the conviction] was the alien's immigration status or violation of this Act."  Three or more misdemeanors, other than minor traffic offenses or state or local offenses for which "an essential element [of the charge] was the alien's immigration status or violation of this Act."  Any offense under foreign law except a purely political offense.  Engagement in terrorist activity or suspicion of being engaged in terrorist activity.
  • 13. Registered Provisional Immigrant 3. Taxes  All applicants must provide proof of payment of federal income taxes.
  • 14. Registered Provisional Immigrant 4. Immigration Status: If in the U.S. under the following immigration statuses on the date the Act was introduced to the Senate, the applicant will be ineligible  Lawfully admitted for permanent residence;  Admitted as a refugee or granted asylum; or  Lawfully present in a nonimmigrant status.
  • 15. In addition….  Spouses and children of RPIs would also be eligible.  RPIs will not be eligible for federal means-tested public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and benefits under the Affordable Care Act, and in general will not receive social security credit for previous unauthorized employment (except in the case of those who received a Social Security number prior to 2004).
  • 16. How does the RPI Program reflect the special circumstances of undocumented immigrants?  Many undocumented immigrants eligible for RPI status could be disqualified based solely on immigration status-related violations of immigration law.  Consequently, certain grounds of inadmissibility or other factors that would disqualify a large segment of the undocumented population do not apply to RPI applicants. (e.g 3 and 10 year bars)  Individuals who have been deported are generally ineligible, but may be permitted to re-enter the United States and apply for RPI status if they meet all other requirements and have close relatives who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.
  • 17. When can undocumented immigrants apply for RPI status ?  The official application period should begin on the date of final publication of these regulations and is set to run initially for one year, with a possible extension of an additional 18 months at the discretion of DHS.  In the interim, S. 744 prohibits removal of individuals who are eligible for RPI status.
  • 18. When will Registered Provisional Immigrants be eligible for Lawful Permanent Residence?  Registered Provisional Immigrants will be able to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (a “green card”), but they must go to the “back of the line” and have been in RPI status for at least 10 years.  Requirements for permanent residence include maintaining regular employment.  Exceptions are made for full-time students, children under 21, physical or mental disability, and showings of extreme hardship.  Applicants would also have to show that they have maintained RPI status, paid taxes, meet English proficiency requirements (or be pursuing a course of study in English), pass an additional background check, and pay application fees and an additional $1,000 penalty.
  • 19. When will Registered Provisional Immigrants be eligible for naturalization?  Registered Provisional Immigrants who have been lawfully present for 10 years before becoming permanent residents will be able to apply for U.S. citizenship after maintaining permanent resident status for 3 years.  Therefore, undocumented immigrants who legalize via the RPI track will have to wait at least 13 years to become citizens.
  • 20. What background checks and security measures are part of the RPI process ?  Biographic and biometric data (fingerprints)  Personal interview  Additional background check when they renew their RPI status  Additional screenings
  • 21. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act  would permit certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status and to eventually obtain permanent legal status and become eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military  Eligibility  came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger  at least five years before the date of the bill’s enactment  maintained good moral character since entering the U.S.  acceptance to college, graduation from a U.S. high school, or being awarded a GED in the U.S.  Students would not qualify for this relief if they had committed crimes, were a security risk, or were inadmissible or removable on certain other grounds.  Under the Senate bill qualifying students must be under age 35, whereas under the House bill they must be under age 32.
  • 22. Is the DREAM Act part of the RPI Program ?  A version of the DREAM Act has been incorporated into the RPI program to address the special situation of many undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children.  DREAMers, however, are placed on a more accelerated path to permanent legal status and citizenship.
  • 23. How do DREAMers qualify for RPI status? Is there a different timeline for DREAMers?  Same application process as other undocumented immigrants  They may apply for Lawful Permanent Residence after five years in RPI status To qualify for this accelerated program:  An applicant must have entered the U.S. before he or she turned 16  Have been in RPI status for at least five years, have earned a high-school diploma or GED  Have completed at least two years of college or four years of military service  Have passed an English test and background checks, among other requirements. DREAMers may apply for citizenship as soon as they receive their green card.
  • 24. Merit-Based Point System  What is merit-based point system and how does it work? – The system allows foreign nationals to obtain Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States by accumulating points mainly based on their skills, employment history, and educational credentials.  How many visas are allocated each year under the merit-based point system? – Between 120,000 and 250,000 visas
  • 25. What are tier 1 and tier 2 and how do they work?  Tier one visas would be designated for higher-skilled immigrants with advanced educational credentials and experience  Tier two visas would be reserved for less-skilled immigrants.  Beginning in fiscal year 2018, 50 percent of the visas will be allocated to applicants with the highest number of points under tier 1, and 50 percent will be allocated to applicants with the highest number of points allocated under tier 2.
  • 26. Who can obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status under this track?  Starting October 1, 2014, family- or employment- based applicants whose applications have been pending five years or more under the current system will become eligible for a visa.
  • 27. What are the main changes to the family-based immigration system?  Petitions for spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents under the current family-based system will be considered immediate relatives, making them exempt from current visa caps and immediately eligible for green cards.  There will no longer be an immigrant category for siblings of U.S. citizens, and visas will no longer be available to married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens who are over 30 years of age.  These relatives would have to apply under the new point system or find another avenue in order to immigrate.
  • 28. How does S. 744 address existing problems in the family-based immigration system?  Eliminating the current backlogs in the system by 2021  Recapturing unused visas from previous years  Allowing parents of U.S. citizens to bring their minor children at the time they immigrate  Allowing for immediate reunification for spouses and minor children of Lawful Permanent Residents. On the other hand, the bill eliminates the categories for siblings and adult married children of U.S. citizens if they are over 30. The bill also does not specifically allow U.S. citizens or LPRs to petition for green cards for their same-sex spouses.
  • 29. What provisions does the bill include for victims of human trafficking and workplace abuse?  S. 744 includes expanded protections against human smuggling and trafficking.  Employers recruiting workers abroad are required to register with the Secretary of Labor and post a bond.  Employers must disclose the conditions of the visa and the work contract to the worker and are prohibited from charging the workers recruitment fees.  S. 744 expands the availability of the U visa to include victims of serious workplace abuse, slavery, or other serious violations of workers’ rights.  The bill increases penalties for human smuggling activities and establishes a pilot program to prevent child trafficking.
  • 30. What protections does the bill have for other vulnerable immigrants?  The bill provides additional protections for immigrants who are battered by their spouses and for other vulnerable individuals.  Battered immigrants will be eligible to receive certain public housing, and will be eligible for work authorization while their VAWA petitions are pending.  The bill also permits qualified stateless individuals to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
  • 31. How does the bill protect the rights of immigrants who are in court proceedings?  In the case of unaccompanied minor children, immigrants with serious mental disabilities, and other particularly vulnerable individuals, the bill requires that a lawyer be appointed to represent them.  The bill requires that immigrants in proceedings have access to evidence in the government’s files and adds additional immigration judges, additional court staff, and additional training programs for judges and staff.
  • 32. A Closer Look at Title IV Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs
  • 33. What are H-1B and L-1 visas?  The H-1B visa is for foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree who come to work temporarily in a specialty occupation.  The L-1 visa is for foreign workers who have gained essential experience abroad with a multinational employer that needs to transfer them here temporarily to assist in their operations in the United States
  • 34. How does S. 744 change the H-1B and L-1 visa programs?  The bill raises the annual H-1B visa cap, raises H-1B wage requirements, and requires employers to make significant efforts to recruit U.S. workers.  The current H-1B visa cap of 65,000 is replaced with a cap that fluctuates between 115,000 and 180,000.  The bill also makes it easier for H-1B workers to change employers and limits employers’ ability to place L-1 workers with other employers.
  • 35. What are the new investor visas created by S. 744?  X visa - for entrepreneurs whose businesses have attracted at least $100,000 in investment, or have created no fewer than three jobs during a two-year period prior to the application and generated $250,000 in annual revenue. – This is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that is granted for three years.  EB-6 Immigrant Investor Visa – leads to Lawful Permanent Residence. – for entrepreneurs who have a significant ownership in a U.S. business and have had a significant role in the start-up of the business – The business must have created at least five jobs and must have received at least $500,000 in venture capital or investment, or created five jobs and generated $750,000 in annual revenues in the prior two years.
  • 36. What other changes are made to nonimmigrant visa programs?  allows F-1 student visa holders to have dual intent.  allows employees of multinational corporations to enter the United States for 90 days to oversee operations or for 180 days for leadership and development training.
  • 37. Children of Filipino WWII Veterans  An amendment recently tucked into the proposed immigration overhaul package now being debated in the Senate could have big implications for Filipino Americans.  It would put the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who fought alongside Americans on a fast track to citizenship.  The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act would put the children of Filipino World War II veterans on a pathway to citizenship while reducing the long wait for a visa.
  • 38. Timeline of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  • 39. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Picture from: http://www.publicinterestprojects.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/08/DACA-DC-large.jpg
  • 40. June 15, 2012 • President Barack Obama announces The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) a new program that would grant undocumented youth in the U.S protection from deportation as well as work permits. • Strict eligibility requirements were set out, nonetheless DACA is viewed as a “turning point in the fight for immigration reform.”
  • 41. April 27, 2013 Gang of Eight introduces an immigration reform bill in the Senate. The bill offers a path to legal status and eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S before Dec. 31, 2011. The bill also increases the number of high-skilled visas (H- 1B) and creates a new visa (W visa) for low skilled workers. It will also allow some deported immigrants to return, a provision not featured in other immigration bills.
  • 42. May 16, 2013 • A bipartisan group in the House announced they have reached an “agreement in principle” on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. • The bill is expected to be more conservative than the one in the Senate as the House is majority Republican. • However, both bills include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
  • 43. June 19, 2013 • The House Judiciary Committee held its first markup of immigration legislation and approved on a 20-15 party-line vote an enforcement-centered bill called the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act.) • The bill permits states to enact and enforce their own immigration laws, and also allows local police officers to assist in enforcing immigration law. • It also includes an amendment that would make unlawful presence in the U.S a federal crime.
  • 44. June 27, 2013 • The Senate approved the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill by a vote of 68-32. • All Democrats serving in the Senate, as well as 14 Republicans approved the bill.
  • 45. July 23, 2013 • The House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing regarding whether to give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children a path to citizenship. • Almost all lawmakers agree that the children should be given a path to citizenship; however a number of Republican lawmakers question why the adults should be granted the same path given that they knowingly broke the law.
  • 46. August 2013  “August is a month in which either legislative proposals die, or they survive. Those who favor immigration legislation must be heard in August. And if we do that, we’ll be well positioned for the fall in the House. If we don’t, then we run a risk.” - U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.  The month long break in August before the House resumes in September is being considered as the crucial time when the decision can be tipped in favor of the bill.
  • 47. QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

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