At the end of June 2013, the Senate gave the green light to The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744), with 68 votes in favor. Despite the fact that the comprehensive immigration reform failed to gather 70 votes – an ambitious target set by the so-called Gang of 8, the senators who had elaborated the bill – it still benefitted from the support of a powerful majority. This change has been received with great enthusiasm by various categories of CIR advocates, including immigration lawyers, members of different religious groups, and immigrants. In fact, this bill is expected to reform the American immigration system, eliminate its major drawbacks, and restore the hope of approximately 11 million “shadows” (undocumented immigrants currently living on American territory). Some voices argue that the bill requires a long list of improvements in order to generate positive results in the long term; however, it clearly represents a huge step toward an improved immigration system and much more effective cross-party cooperation.
- What changes could the CIR Bill bring?
The CIR Bill is expected to favor beneficial changes related to border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and new visa programs for nonimmigrants.
- Border security improvements
The main objective is to attain and preserve a higher level of control over the Mexico border, with a desirable apprehension rate of up to 90%. This change promoted by the CIR will demand significant investment required to back this project (fencing, appropriate technology, an increased number of patrol officers, infrastructure, and so on).
- Immigrant visas
A significant number of immigrants currently living illegally in the US might be offered the chance to profit from a fresh, clean start. In order to become eligible for the RPI status (Registered Provisional Immigrant), candidates must meet certain conditions:
- They must have zero felony convictions and less than 3 misdemeanors
- They must prove the fact that they pay their taxes
- They must have lived on American territory since 12/31/2011
- They must pay penalty charges
- They must be able to pass a routine background check
An RPI status could be renewed every 6 years. Moreover, a highly effective point system would be beneficial for immigrants with excellent skills, superior education, and/or excellent employment records, increasing their likelihood of obtaining one of the 250,000 visas that might become available for this category on an annual basis. If you need more information on this subject, call an immigration attorney and get the most accurate details.
- Interior enforcement
All US-based employers would be required to rely on E-Verify (the new employment verification system introduced by the CIR Bill). The main objective is to discourage employers from hiring undocumented workers. Companies and individuals who were to disobey this important rule would expose themselves to increased penalties. If you are worried about the impact of this potential change on your welfare and economic situation, contact an immigration attorney and get the most accurate answers to your questions.
- Non-immigrant visa programs
The number of visas allocated for foreign workers with superior skills (H-1B) could be considerably increased from 65,000 to any number below 180,000, based on different factors, like, for instance, the unemployment rate or workforce demand. Workers with inferior skills would still be allowed to apply for W Visas, which would basically allow them to live in the U.S. for a predetermined period of time and accept non-agricultural jobs. From 20,000 to 200,000 W Visas could become available on an annual basis, depending on the same two factors influencing the number of H-1B visas provided by the U.S. government every single year. At the same time, investors who want to open and develop a business on American territory might become eligible for an X Visa. The U.S. might have a cap of 10,000 investor visas for every single fiscal year.
It goes without saying that the CIR Bill could easily puzzle immigrants and make them worry about their fate. If you are currently in this situation, start getting the answers that you deserve today. Count on a skilled immigration lawyer to discuss all of the particularities of your case, and rest assured knowing that your future is in good hands.