Posts Tagged ‘Permanent Residency’
Washington, D.C. – Florida Senator Marco Rubio spent Sunday making the rounds of the various news shows to emphasize that the pathway to citizenship included in a comprehensive reform package will be difficult and costly.
Although we don’t know exactly what will be in the immigration reform bill, which is due to be revealed tomorrow, reports have stated that it could include a revamp of the visa system, including an entrance and exit program, a national employment verification database and enhanced border security.
When the Gang of Eight began working on a reform package, the White House and immigrant advocacy groups insisted that a pathway to citizenship should remove the numerous barriers, such as long waiting periods that discourage immigrants from following the proper legal channels.
Sen. Rubio spoke to Fox News Sunday to outline the pathway to citizenship and explain why it’s not amnesty, saying ““The alternative we’ve created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate.”
“They don’t qualify for any federal benefits — no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare,” Rubio said during a broadcast of “Fox News Sunday.” “They will have to stay in that status until at least 10 years elapses … and then all they get is a chance to apply for a green card.”
Immigrants would have to apply for the program and pay a heavy upfront fine, which could be as much as $2,000, and back taxes for every year they were illegally in the country. But applying for the green card, permanent residency, won’t even be possible until certain triggers like enhanced border security and the development of visa verification program are met. Sen. Rubio said meeting the border security criteria could take as long as five years.
Another hurdle in the pathway to citizenship is the amount of time it will take to even get a green card. Sen. Rubio said immigrants who apply for the program will have to wait 10 years before they are granted permanent residency, and that doesn’t guarantee they will be eligible for citizenship.
“It will be cheaper, faster and easier for people to go back home and wait 10 years than it will be to go through this process that I’ve outlined,” Rubio told Fox News.
Additionally, the green card program has a cut-off date, and any immigrants arriving in the country illegally after Dec. 31st, 2011 would not be eligible.
Those critical of the green card proposal say that it essentially creates and underclass that are obligated to pay taxes, but don’t have the same rights as other citizens.
It is unclear if the Gang of Eight will release their bill for public debate tomorrow as they said they would last week since Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for the bill have been delayed in order to give legislators more time to review the proposal.
A reform package is absolutely necessary, but it is unclear if the plan outlined by Sen. Rubio will actually help the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country come out of the shadows.
Washington, D.C.- The bipartisan group of eight Senators working together on immigration reform has come up with their plan on how to offer a pathway to citizenship. A pathway to citizenship is largest hurdle in passing comprehensive reform.
Although the negotiations were handled through closed door meetings, aides close to the matter have leaked some key details of the bipartisan group’s plan. The “Gang of Eight’s” plan falls in line with President Obama’s with one key exception it does give a specific time period in which immigrants would be eligible for citizenship.
According to the plan, as reported by the Los Angles Times, undocumented immigrants must first register with the Department of Homeland Security. Then they must file taxes for every year they were in the country and pay a fine that has yet to be specified.
Immigrants must have a clean criminal record, but again the plan doesn’t say what types of crime would make a person ineligible for citizenship.
After registering with the DHS and being granted probationary status, undocumented immigrants would be allowed to work but would not be able to participate in public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, or unemployment, according to the LA Times.
Aides say that the plan does not give a time period in which a person could begin the naturalization process, but the aides say the wait for a green card—permanent residency– could be as long as 10 years. In contrast, President Obama’s, plan which was also leaked, called for permanent residency within eight years.
But what has not been decided by lawmakers nor the “Gang of Eight” is how to overhaul the visa system. The allotted number of visas for highly-skilled and low-skill workers is not enough to fill the needs of applicants or businesses.
They must also tackle the challenge of securing the border in light if the deep budget cuts made to all government agencies intended to reduce the federal deficit. A pathway to citizenship is only possible if lawmakers believe the border is secure. With the steep cuts required by the sequester, the DHS and ICE may have to cut down on the number of agents patrolling the border.
The bipartisan group which includes Republican Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham working with Democratic Senators Charles E. Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennett had hoped to have their bill introduced before Congress recessed for Easter. But Aides say that they need more time to get technical advice and settle budget issues, according to the LA Times.
Previous immigration reform bills failed because lawmakers and business leaders were unable to reach a consensus in how many visas for temporary workers would be granted.
The fact that both Republicans and Democrats are working together to come up with a feasible plan means that comprehensive reform has a good chance of passing if they are able to work through some of the tougher issues and overhaul the visa system.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who is also Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday that “open” to offering a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, but did not outline how that aspect of immigration reform should look.
Speaking at an event organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Rep. Goodlatte, a key Republican, said he wouldn’t rule out a pathway to citizenship, which was in direct contrast to what he has previously said.
Last week, Goodlatte said he did not believe such a proposal was necessary since current laws don’t necessarily rule them out of permanent residency,according to the Huffington Post. But one of the reasons our immigration system is broken is the time it takes to get a visa or green card, something that lawmakers involved in immigration reform have failed to address thus far.
This week however, Rep. Goodlatte said that a pathway may be necessary, but was reluctant to give his idea of what that pathway would entail and warned the White House to stay out of the debate.
“We’re open to the idea that the large number of people who are not here lawfully are not a good thing to have … operating in the shadows,” Goodlatte said, according to ABC News. He added, “I would prefer to not try to define the details of how a legalization process would work until we know what the willingness is of the representatives of the people, after they’ve been briefed on the issue and had an opportunity to communicate with their constituents, to come back and let us know.”
Goodlatte prefers to allow lawmakers to come to a consensus on a pathway so that immigration reform legislation has the opportunity to pass through the House and Senate, according to the Huffington Post. Any reform legislation will have to pass scrutiny by the House Judiciary Committee of which Goodlatte is the Chairman so his change of position is important and a positive sign that lawmakers are getting closer to reform.
Goodlatte’s change of mind on the pathway to citizenship is a god sign, but some are worried that Republican lawmakers may stand by earlier proposals, which prefers allowing immigrants, who entered the country illegally, to have permanent residency status instead of full citizenship, essentially creating a permanent underclass.
Goodlatte, like other Republicans, say that a pathway to citizenship should also include enhanced border security, and mandatory participating in E-Verify for the nation’s employers.
While Goodlatte was speaking at the Christian Science Monitor, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain met with President Obama at the White House to discuss immigration reform. After emerging from the meeting Graham said, “It was one of the best meetings I’ve had with the president,” adding, “He understands we need border security that we can afford, and Senator McCain made a strong point about the border. The president understands the working components of it, so I was, quite frankly, encouraged.”
Los Angeles, CA- Numerous polls show that the majority of Americans agree that many of the undocumented immigrants living in the country deserve a pathway to citizenship. They have after all lived here for decades; they work alongside us, go to school with our children, they are a part of American life. The lives of citizens and immigrants intersect on all levels. Even though some citizens and lawmakers can agree that self-deportation and continuing to allow immigrants to languish in the shadows is not a solution.
While lawmakers in Washington squabble about how immigration reform should shape up, there are issues they gloss over. Each side of the debate has valid points and good ideas, but neither of their plans adequately addresses a very important issue, the actual time it takes to obtain a visa or permanent residency. Although, the leaked White House plan calls for citizenship within 8 years, it’s unlikely that plan will be approved.
Immigration reform debates center around securing the border and allowing legal residency for the millions of immigrants who are able to pass criminal background checks, learn English, pay a fine and back taxes after applying for “Lawful Prospective Immigrant Status.” But first they must get in the back of the line, and that line is long, roughly 4 million people long.
While lawmakers quibble over border security and what constitutes as amnesty, no reform proposals actually address streamlining visa and green card processing. Currently an immigrant, who has followed the lawful path to citizenship, has to first wait until they establish legal residency that can take anywhere from two to five years. Then the naturalization process can take an additional five years.
The visa category the immigrant qualifies for, whether it’s a visa for highly skilled worker, or eligibility for a green card based on family relationships, largely dictates the time a person has to wait for legal status. Adding to the timeline is where the immigrant is from; people from China, Mexico, the Philippines and India generally wait longer.
That’s because of a 1960 law which established a quota, out of fairness, that dictates how many of the various visas can be awarded to citizens of other countries each year. Those quotas are typically filled quickly and the applicant must wait another year.
If immigration reform passes and allows undocumented immigrants to start down the path to citizenship after applying for the newly legislated status—once the law goes into effect– an additional eight years will be added to their wait for permanent residency. That means, according to the Washington Post, immigrants who entered the country unlawfully will have to wait close to 13 years to get naturalized, in reality that is probably a very low estimate.
The long haul to legal residency is the one of the causes of the large undocumented population and if legislators don’t address this problem, perhaps through changing the quota system or accelerating the application process, immigration reform could fall short of the original goal which is to help millions of undocumented and otherwise law-abiding immigrants become legally recognized.
As difficult as it can be to obtain a green card, the process just got a whole lot more complicated for immigrants.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, some immigrants may have their green card applications denied over tattoos.
The report shows that several Latino immigrants who have not been convicted of any crime were denied green cards or permanent residency since 2006 partly because of the assumption that some tattoos demonstrate affiliation with criminal gangs.
Héctor Villalobos, a Mexican immigrant interviewed by the Journal, said he was denied an application because of his tattoos, but explains that he is not affiliated with any gang; he merely liked the way they looked.
Many tattoos that are linked with criminal organizations have been used by immigrants who have never committed a crime. Unfortunately, U.S. immigration officials are rejecting applications based on the assumption that the immigrant in question is guilty of a crime or of being affiliated with a gang, despite their lack of solid evidence proving their opinions.
According to the Journal, the State Department claims it does not reject green card applications based solely on an applicant’s tattoos, but the evidence at hand demonstrates otherwise.
Tattoos should not be a valid reason why a green card applicant should be denied their petition. If you have experienced difficulty obtaining a green card, work visa, or any other legal status petition, turn to an immigration lawyer immediately for help.
Immigration attorneys do their best to ensure your rights are upheld. They know the ins and outs of the law and will work diligently to secure you and your loved ones legal status. In addition, immigration lawyers can help you find a job, establish a U.S.-based business and can even contest criminal charges.
Call to schedule an appointment today.