A new proposed bill from Congress has been released which will act as the foundation of upcoming immigration reform. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is intended to bring about good change in the field of U.S. immigration. With our best interests in mind, Congress has written this proposed bill to enhance areas which need extra attention and efforts in order to be most effective and beneficial. As you can tell by the name of the bill, it focuses on three distinct areas: border security, economic opportunity and immigration modernization. We would like to break this down for you so you can better understand the new concepts for the upcoming reform.
1. New Goals for Border Security
The goal of Congress for this bill is to increase security efficiency in high risk border sectors across the Southern border. They are proposing that heightened surveillance should be implemented in the High Risk Sectors. These border sectors include any area along the border where there are more than 30,000 individuals apprehended throughout the year.
The fund for this new “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy” will be approximately $3 billion. That money will spread out to fund several different things including additional surveillance, additional Border Patrol agents, more Customs & Border Protection officers, portable surveillance systems and unmanned aerial system to fly over the Southern border.
They are also looking into a “Southern Border Fencing Strategy” which will look into building up double=layer fencing along the border. Around $1.5 billion has been appropriated for this specific strategy. The ultimate goal is to attain a 90% border effectiveness rate in all the high risk border sectors.
2. Economic Opportunities With a Changed Status
They are going to allows individuals with unlawful status to apply and register for legal provisional immigrant status. This offer will only apply individuals who have maintained residence here in the U.S. since before December 31, 2011. There will be fees associates with processing the application, as a well as a penalty fee for those who are not eligible students of the DREAM Act.
Individuals who have been convicted of a felony, have unlawfully voted, have obtained more than three misdemeanors or have been convicted of a crime under foreign law, will not be permitted to change their status. This offer however, is being extended to individuals and aliens who are currently facing removal proceedings and they will be allowed to file.
For those that have DREAM Act status, they are eligible to receive their green card after 5 years and DREAM Act kids will be able to automatically receive citizenship after obtaining their green cards.
Congress is also planning to unfold with “The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act (AgJOBS), which is a program that makes it attainable for undocumented farm workers to receive legal status. If the agricultural worker completes the program requirement, pays their taxes in full and has a clean criminal record, they simply pay a $400 fine in order to be eligible for legal resident status. The spouse and minor children of the agricultural worker would then obtain derivative status.
3. Immigration Modernization in Regards to Visas
The new focuses on expanding the number of family visas and employment visas that are available to individuals. There are also going to be 120,000 visas that are available based on merit.
If the demand for this type of visa exceed the supply any given year and the unemployment rate is below 8.5%, then they have set the maximum number of visas available at 250,000 visas. In regards to Temporary Visas, they are going to raise the maximum amount from 65,000 to 110,000. In the years to follow, they may even raise that number up to 180,000 temporary visas.
Congress also plans to create a new visa classification called the W-visa. This type of visa will be allotted for aliens who come to the U.S to work under registered employers preforming services of a registered position. With a W visa holder, they will also allow their spouse and their minor children to accompany them for the same allotted period of time. Certified aliens will be given a three year period and they may renew the visa for an additional three years. W visa holders cannot be unemployed for more than 60 consecutive days – if they are not able to obtain work they must depart from the U.S.
They are also looking further in employment verification via the E-verify system. Within the next five years, all employers will be phased into this system. Those with more than 500 employees will be phased in within three years and those with over 5,000 employees will be phased in within two years.
Photo matching will be an integral part of the E-Verify system. The photos of non-citizens will be stored in the system and when it comes time to clear a non-citizen for a job they must present their biometric work authorization “green” card and it must match up with the photo in the system.