This article outlines some of the more popular sections of the Senate's Immigration Reform Bill recently submitted and expected to begin debate on June 10, 2013.
REGISTERED PROVISIONAL IMMIGRANT STATUS
1. Creates new INA §245B to allow certain noncitizens that are currently unlawfully present and who entered the U.S. before December 31, 2011, to adjust status to that of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI).
a. The eligibility requirements for the grant of RPI
- Physical Presence.
1. Must be physically present on the date application for RPI is submitted;
2. Must have been physically present on or before December 31, 2011, and maintain continuous physical presence from December 31, 2011, until RPI status is granted;
b. Bars to Granting Status
1. Any felony (other than state or local status-based or immigration offenses);
2. Aggravated felony Three or more misdemeanors (other than minor traffic offenses)
3. Certain crimes may be waived for humanitarian purposes to ensure family unity, or if otherwise in the public interest.
Inadmissible Bars that do not apply
1. The following inadmissibility grounds do not apply: public charge; documentation requirements); and 3/10 year unlawful presence bars.
2. The following inadmissibility grounds do not apply unless they are based on the act of unlawfully entering the U.S. after the date of enactment: present without admission or parole; misrepresentation; stowaways and unlawful presence after previous immigration violation); and
3. The following inadmissibility grounds do not apply unless the relevant conduct began on or after the date on which the alien files the RPI application: (failure to attend removal proceedings and certain aliens previously removed).
Dependent Spouses and Children.
The spouse and child of an RPI may receive RPI status provided they are:
a. physically present in the U.S. on the date RPI status is granted and on or before December 31, 2012;
b. Maintains continuous presence from December 31, 2012, until the RPI is granted status, except for brief, casual and innocent departures, whether or not authorized by DHS;
c. They must meet all of the eligibility requirements for RPIs other than the physical presence requirements that are tied to December 31, 2011.
Application Procedures, Taxes, Form.
a. All applicants for RPI or RPI dependent status must submit a completed application form during the application period in accordance with the final rule;
b. Requires satisfaction of federal tax liabilities before filing.
c. Initial application period is one year beginning on the date that the final rule is published in the Federal Register. Application period may be extended 18 months.
d. Families will be permitted to submit a single application. Interview may be required.
Apprehension Before or During Application Period.
If eligible individual is apprehended between date of enactment and end of application period, DHS must provide opportunity to apply and may not remove the individual until a final decision on the RPI application is made.
Eligibility After Departure.
An alien who departed the U.S. under an order of removal or voluntary departure, who is outside the U.S., or who re-entered illegally after December 31, 2011, without obtaining permission to reapply for admission, is ineligible for RPI status.
May be waived if the alien is: (i) the spouse or child of a USC or LPR; (ii) the parent of a USC or LPR; (iii) was younger than 16 upon initial entry and earned a high school diploma or GED in the U.S.; or (4) was younger than 16 upon initial entry, is 16 or older on the date of filing the RPI application, and was physically present for an aggregate of three years within the six-year period preceding the date of enactment.
Suspension of Removal During Application Period.
The law Provides that RPIs may not be detained or removed unless RPI is or became ineligible or RPI status revoked.
If Applicant is in Removal Proceedings.
If eligible individual in removal proceedings is identified by DHS between the date of enactment and end of application period, DHS must provide reasonable opportunity to apply. Upon motion by either party (with noncitizen’s consent), EOIR shall terminate to provide opportunity to apply.
If the Immigration Court identifies an eligible individual in removal proceedings, The Court must notify DHS and if DHS does not dispute eligibility within seven days, EOIR shall terminate (with noncitizen’s consent) to provide opportunity to apply.
Prior Removal Order.
Those with prior removal or voluntary departure orders may apply for RPI status,. If granted RPI status, RPI shall move to reopen the prior order and the motion shall be granted unless there is clear and convincing evidence of ineligibility.
During the period While RPI Application Is Pending. RPI applicant:
- May receive advance parole if urgent humanitarian circumstances compel such travel;
- May not be detained or removed unless DHS finds the alien is, or has become, ineligible for RPI status for criminal or national security reasons.
- Will not accrue unlawful presence for purposes of 3/10-year bars; and
- Will not be considered unauthorized to work.
Protection for Employers
Employer Protections. Employer who knows that an employee is an RPI applicant or will apply when the
application period commences is not in violation of employer sanctions laws.
Duration of Status and Extension.
1. Initial RPI status valid for six years unless revoked. May be extended for additional six years if:
a. RPI continues to be eligible for RPI status and RPI status has not been revoked; and’RPI satisfies any applicable federal tax liability;
b. Employment Requirement. Applicant (1) must have been regularly employed through RPI period or demonstrates an average income or resources not less than 100 percent of the poverty level throughout RPI period.
c. Applicant can satisfy the employment requirement by providing evidence of full-time attendance at certain educational institutions/programs.
The following individuals are exempt from the employment/education requirement:
a. RPIs under 21 at time of first extension of RPI status;
b. Those over 60 on the date of filing (or 65 on the date of adjustment);
c. Those with a physical or mental disability or pregnancy; and RPI dependents.