After weeks of contentious debate all 52 Democrats, as well as 14 Conservatives and two independents were responsible for the passage of the Senate Bill S.744, a landmark immigration legislation, which could transform border security, while simultaneously, enabling 11 million undocumented immigrants begin their journey tobecoming a U.S. citizen.
1. PATH TO CITIZENSHIP
The 11+ million people living in the U.S. unlawfully could receive "registered provisional immigrant status" six months after enactment of the bill as long as:
(1) The Homeland Security Department has formulated border security and fencing plans, as specified in the bill.
(2) Applicants would have to establish that they arrived in the U.S. on or before December 31, 2011 and maintained continuous physical presence since then.
a. Family members to be included - was physically present in the United States on or before December 31, 2012
(3) A felony conviction or three or more misdemeanors disqualifies the applicant.
(4) A $500 fine will be imposed on top of the immigration fees.
(5) PAYMENT OF TAXES- the applicant has satisfied any applicable Federal tax liability.
Once Provisional Status is granted:
The applicant could work and travel in the U.S. but would be ineligible for most federal benefits, including welfare and health care
Provisional legal status lasts six years and is renewable for another six years for $500.
a. INITIAL PERIOD- A 1-year period beginning on the date on which the final rule is published.
b. EXTENSION- may be extended the period for an additional 18 months.
After 10 years in provisional status, immigrants will qualify for a green card (lawful permanent resident status) if:
1. They are current on their taxes and pay a $1,000 fine,
2. They have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S.,
3. The meet work requirements (worked minimum 10 months each year) and learn English;
4. All people on line in wait to immigrate legally as of the date of enactment of the legislation must have been processed; and
5. The border security requirements have to be satisfied