Senate Committee Reviews Proposal
The bipartisan group of Senators tasked with coming up with a comprehensive immigration reform plan, known as the Gang of Eight, has passed along their proposals for a broader Senate review, this time in the hands of an 18 member committee tasked with reviewing and approving or rejecting the Gang of Eight’s proposals. Of the 18-member committee, two are original members of the Gang of Eight.
Early Discussions Focus on Border Security
After its first meeting, the committee voted to approve some of the proposals, but most had to do with strengthening the border. Whether or not the committee will approve the more liberal proposals that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country is a question that will hopefully be answered in coming weeks. Among the proposals submitted by the Gang of Eight were amendments that would allow certain illegal immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents and certain illegal immigrants working in the agricultural industry to gain legal status.
The proposal further offered that illegal immigrants who did not fall into either of the mentioned categories to apply for provisional residency after having spent six months in the country illegally and paying a host of fines and fees. The Gang of Eight’s proposal even extended provisional residency status to individuals who have already been deported for non criminal reasons.
A Note On the Politics of Immigration Reform
Anyone who may be affected by reforms to America’s immigration system will no doubt hear plenty of chatter and read plenty of print on the topic of immigration reform. These individuals are reminded that the proposals made by the Gang of Eight and the discussions by this new 18-member committee have no effect on current law.
Everything being discussed at the moment is nothing more than discussions. A bill must be agreed and voted on by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can become a law. Internal debates within either chamber only exist to come up with a bill that can be voted on later, not to make immediate changes to laws.
Advice for Immigrants
Further, anyone who may be affected by immigration reform should contact an experienced immigration attorney for answers to their specific questions and for accurate information on the current state of the law.
Contrary to what they may think, even individuals in the country illegally have a right to legal counsel, and can enjoy the same privileges of legal counsel as anyone else. If they would like an immigration attorney to review their case, the attorney may be able to offer a solution that would allow the immigrant to upgrade to a legal status. Every case is different and not every person in the country illegally will qualify for an upgrade, which is why experienced legal counsel should be secured. They can usually call or email an immigration law office for advice or to set up a future appointment with an immigration attorney.
For best results and to ensure the client has a full understanding of his or her legal rights, an attorney should be sought that can provide legal counsel on immigration reform in the client’s native tongue.