Posts Tagged ‘ immigration reform in the united states ’

Progress for the Senate Uncertainty for the House

Posted on: August 19, 2013 by in immigration reform
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bigstock-Social-security-28216202The U.S. Senate has recently passed a major hurdle on the path to immigration reform. With an overwhelming majority of Senators in support of reform, the Senate has passed its own version of a full immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship that affects about 11 million undocumented immigrants living illegally in the United States. Unfortunately, members of the House of Representatives don’t seem to see the approval of this bill by the Senate as anything to be celebrated.

House Republicans Unimpressed by Bill

Within the legislative branch of American government, the Senate and the House of Representatives co-exist and are tasked with working together to draft laws. Unfortunately, both chambers of Congress have to agree on a final bill before it can be submitted to the President for approval and signing into law. With the Senate controlled by the Democrats, and the House controlled by the Republicans, hope for a consolidated immigration reform bill anytime in the near future is looking pretty bleak. Speaker of the House John Boehner himself said that his chamber of Congress will likely have a full bill of its own prepared by the end of this year – whether or not Speaker Boehner is able to meet this deadline remains unknown.

Even if his chamber can meet the deadline, the odds that the House’s bill will pass the scrutiny of the Senate are anything but sure. When both chambers of Congress draft their own individual proposals for a bill, the other chamber has to sign on to support the bill or the two bills have to be consolidated. At this point, there is no telling how long it could take for both chambers of Congress to agree on a consolidated bill that is able to please a majority of Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle.

A Glimmer of Hope

A plan drafted by Republican Representative from Texas John Carter may be that last glimmer of hope for getting more Republican support in the House behind the Senate approved bill. The provision would require the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country illegally to maintain a decade of legalized status, that would allow the immigrant to receive a work visa, before the previously illegal immigrant could apply for lawful permanent resident status and eventual citizenship.

While very similar to the Senate plan, the fact that this solution originated from a Republican in a Republican controlled chamber may be enough to boost Republican support for the Senate bill. Speaker Boehner remains hard nosed, reiterating that the only way a Senate passed immigration reform bill will make it to the floor of the House for a vote is if a majority of House Republicans show support for it.

For the Most Accurate Information

While the foundation of immigration reform is steadily growing in Congress, it is still unwise to make predictions about what provisions will or won’t be in a final immigration reform bill. If they are wondering how the decision may affect their status in the United States, undocumented immigrants should contact an immigration law attorney for guidance, and should only depend on the advice of an attorney for a matter so important.

Senator Rubio’s Strong Words on Immigration Debate

Posted on: August 14, 2013 by in immigration, immigration reform
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bigstock-Immigration-3151682As the U.S. Senate works on coming up with a plan to overhaul America’s current immigration system, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and original member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group of Senators who created the groundwork for what will become a full and final immigration reform bill, has said that if any provisions in the new bill allow same sex couples the same immigration rights as intersex couples, that he will withdraw his support from the bill. Senator Rubio is not alone and is just one of several Republicans in Congress who have voiced their opposition to granting immigration rights for same sex couples. This progressive provision was introduced by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, and is expected to be voted on some time in the near future.

It’s About the Border for Republicans

Of higher priority to Senator Rubio and other Republican leaders in Congress is strengthening the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the fact that a Republican introduced provision has been struck down that would have required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to declare effective control of the border before any undocumented immigrants could be placed on a path to citizenship, Republicans are adamant about beefing up border security. In one of his most recent interviews, Senator Rubio stated that if provisions to strengthen the border are not included in the Senate’s final bill proposal, then the bill won’t pass the Senate or the House of Representatives and framers of the legislation, in Rubio’s words, are wasting their time.

An Overall Update

Despite the comments made by Senator Rubio, the Senate continues to move forward, albeit slowly, toward coming up with full and final legislation that it can vote on. After the proposed immigration reform bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was moved forward for a full Senate vote and debate. However, before a final vote can be completed by the Senate, all 100 Senators have the opportunity to debate and inject amendments into the bill. While the Senate continues to debate the amendments which should be included in the bill, they are still further along in the process than the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner has stated that he believes his chamber of Congress will be able to vote on a final bill by the end of 2013.

When both chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House, are finally able to come up with their own bills, the two bills will need to be consolidated and voted on by all of Congress. Only after the entire Congress can agree on a single and final version of an immigration reform bill will such a bill have a chance at becoming law. Once passed by Congress, the bill would be sent to the President, who has already said that he will support an immigration reform bill, to be signed into law.

For the most up to date information on the state of immigration reform, individuals who may be affected by reform should speak to an experienced immigration attorney.

Proposed Changes to the EB-5 Visa Program

Posted on: July 15, 2013 by in EB-5, immigration reform
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bigstock-Passport-Gavel-5802855Changes on the Horizon for EB5

If a bipartisan group of senators gets its way, there are going to be some major changes to the EB-5 investor visa program. The program, which was introduced in the 1990s, is designed to award foreign investors with U.S. residency and an eventual path to citizenship in exchange for a substantial investment into the U.S. economy.

The program has several limits on how much an investment should be worth and the kind of growth that the investment is expected to create. For example, in order to qualify for the program, investors must invest at least $500,000 into a government designated, hard hit industry, or at least $1,000,000 into any other. Additionally, the investment, if invested into a brand new business venture, is required to create at least ten jobs for qualifying American workers, or, if invested into a pre-existing venture, is required to expand the venture by 40%, either in terms of job growth or in overall net worth.

Bipartisan Proposals

Among some of the improvements and changes that have been proposed by the bipartisan group of senators tasked with reforming our immigration system are:

  • Allowing EB5 Regional Centers to exist permanently. These centers, which are privately held business entities tasked with managing and distributing EB-5 investment funds and promoting fiscal growth within specific geographical boundaries, were originally introduced in 1992 as a pilot program, a program which has been perpetually extended and allowed to exist year after year, with the most recent extension lasting until the end of September, 2015. Due in large part to the program’s success, the crafters of the proposal see no reason to have to continue to treat the program as a pilot.
  • Allowing the recapture of un-issued EB5 visas from the past. Congress currently authorizes 10,000 EB5 investor visas for issue each year. As of now, unused visas vanish into thin air and are not carried over into the next fiscal year, despite how beneficial they would be for the economy.
  • Allowing the elimination of country quotas which currently cap the number of visas that can be issued to citizens from the same country. As of now, a single country cannot represent more than 7% of the total EB-5 visa pool.
  • Allowing an exemption for spouses and children of EB5 investors so that the full 10,000 issued visas are issued solely to principal investors, not their family members.
  • Allowing an increase in the overall amount of EB-5 investor visas that can be issued each year.

Stay Tuned for Updates

The pace in Washington appears to be gaining some traction. Citizens across the United States are calling for sweeping reforms to a variety of laws and policies and politicians seem to be responding. As of now, the proposed changes listed above will remain proposals until both sides of Congress can come up with policies that they can agree on, or until the President signs into law an executive order that directly affects the EB5 program.

Prospective EB5 investors are encouraged to stay in touch with an experienced EB-5 attorney for the most up to date and accurate changes to the program as they are announced.

Path To Citizenship Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

Posted on: July 3, 2013 by in immigration reform
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Immigration Rally in WashingtonThe Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee tasked with drafting a comprehensive bill that would overhaul the immigration system in the United States, has made a substantial step forward in crafting what the bill will become.

Path to Citizenship Approved 13 to 5

Not only was the Senate Judiciary Committee able to approve a path to citizenship for nearly 11.5 million immigrants, but it was also able to approve a plan that would create a new program for low and high skilled workers to gain easier access to employment opportunities in the United States.

The vote was nearly halted when Democrats made a last minute effort to include language in the bill that would have allowed same sex couples the same immigration rights as intersex couples, but the issue caused so much fiery debate that threatened the life of the entire bill, the idea was abandoned.

Tensions Rising in the House

The House of Representatives, which has been quietly crafting bipartisan immigration legislation over the last few years, does not appear to be having the same luck as the Senate in reaching a final agreement. Part of the tension is whether or not the House will craft its own bill or simply vote on a bill that was already passed in the Senate, but some members of the House are saying there is no way that a Senate approved bill would pass House scrutiny.

Steady Progress but Progress to be Made

Once both chambers of Congress are able to agree on a final version of the bill, then the proposals that have been made thus far will be in the final stretch on the path toward becoming law. The bill would go to the President for approval which, if not granted, can still be passed into law by a 2/3 majority vote in Congress. How long it will actually take for the path to citizenship amendments to get into law is still a question of how long it will take for a full and final bill to be passed.

Until both sides of Congress can consolidate and approve a bill, the rules and regulations which have governed U.S. immigration will continue to govern, and immigrants should not assume rumors of changing laws have the force of actual laws.

An Attorney Can Always Help

If they would like information on the most current state of immigration law in the United States, immigrants and foreign citizens should get in touch with a U.S. immigration attorney. Even if they are in the country illegally, individuals still have the right to seek advice from experienced immigration attorneys on legal matters relating to their immigration status.

In some cases, an immigration attorney can even provide assistance to individuals who are in the country illegally with upgrading their status to legal. As always, for best results, immigrants and foreign citizens wanting to come to the United States should work with an immigration attorney who can provide counsel in the immigrant or foreign citizen’s first language.