Highlights and “Lowlights” of Senate Immigration Reform Proposal

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America’s Voice has published a list of the highlights and “lowlights” of the Senate’s immigration reform bill. You can see the full list here.

Here is an excerpt.

The Good:

Most undocumented immigrants in the country today can get on a road to citizenship, starting with Registered Prospective Immigrant (RPI) status.  Some immigrants will have an accelerated path to citizenship.

After 10 years in RPI status, formerly undocumented immigrants can apply for green cards.  Once they have green cards, their wait for citizenship is shorter than the traditional process (3 years versus 5 years).

Families can apply for immigration status together, saving money on expensive fines. If one person loses his or her status, other family members can remain on the path to citizenship.

Immigrants of all countries will benefit from the legislation, including those who did not participate in a discredited DHS program based on national origin profiling.

Depending on how the provisions are implemented, homemakers, retirees, day laborers, and other deserving immigrants with different circumstances can apply.

The Bad:

Some deserving immigrants will be blocked from Registered Prospective Immigrant (RPI) status, green cards, and citizenship.

Every day until the bill is passed, people who would be eligible for RPI status will be deported.

The December 31, 2011 cut-off date for RPI status means that hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came in 2012 and 2013 will be left out.

The process will be expensive—in some cases, prohibitively so—for low-income workers and their families.  Principal applicants will pay $2000 in fines over the course of the program, plus application costs for themselves and their family members.  Application costs for the whole process could total $1000 or more per individual.

Due to the program’s extensive requirements, immigrants will need time to pull together the documents, money, and legal assistance necessary to file a complete application.  The bill gives them only one year to do all of this, with an optional 18 month extension.

The bill is just that, a bill. Amendments will still be made and the final proposal that gets voted on will be different than what we have now.

Now is the time to reach out to our elected officials to make this bill as fair as it can be.


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