The Path To Legal Status

The Path To Legal Status - The Shirazi Law Group, Inc
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to journalists in January about a bipartisan immigration reform effort being undertaken by eight senators. With him are Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), left, Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press / January 28, 2013)

In Washington, Senators have agreed on the path to legal status for illegal immigrants.  The gang of eight has been working hard over the past several weeks to compile a bipartisan bill that will extend to over 11 million undocumented immigrants the opportunity to change their legal status.

Negotiations occurring with the gang of eight have been conducted privately behind closed doors.  A number of aides who are well informed about the discussions that have taken place disclosed some information. According to the aides, the bill would require illegal immigrants to register with Homeland Security Department authorities, file federal income taxes throughout their time in the United States, pay a yet undetermined fine, and lastly the individual must have a clean law enforcement record.

Among the possible requirements listed above, there is also a list of probable limitations.  If an undocumented immigrant were granted probationary legal status, that individual would be permitted to work but would not be permitted to apply for, or receive federal public benefits, which include – food stamps, family cash assistance, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid.

The aides also add that a number of important factors are yet undecided. For example, how long an illegal immigrant would have to wait before they could apply for permanent residence (green card), how many visas for high tech specialist or guest worker passes to issue, how to keep track of when visitors leave the county, matters regarding border security issues such as fencing and paying for border security.

It will take more time for a draft from the gang of eight to become law, however, most advocates for a comprehensive immigration reform are optimistic that a positive advancement will occur soon, most likely by late April or early May.  “Nine months ago, people would have thought you were nuts to say that four Republicans and four Democrats were working on a way to legalize 11 million people,” said Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the White House. “It’s a Rubik’s Cube, but more sides are matching in color than ever before. That’s significant.”

The group of eight had hoped to have a completed bill in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee for review before the Senate leaves for Easter break on March 22nd.  According to the aides, this deadline will likely be postponed until April due to the technicality involved with the remaining issues discussed above.

To find out more on what you can be do now to prepare for a possible comprehensive immigration reform, contact the Shirazi Law Group, a leading Atlanta immigration law firm, for any questions or concerns you may have.