Finally, a group of Senators have formally introduced an outline of their version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This has been met with both applause and opposition. We can only hope that the same actions in Congress that defeated the recent gun control legislation will not doom immigration reform.
The gun control proposed law merely expanded background checks to people buying guns at gun shows and through the internet. it was a watered-down version of a bill that President Obama endorsed. Watered-down to placate the gun lobby.
The new proposed legislation will open up a path to legalization for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and add more business visas and investment visas for those seeking to help strengthen the economy while residing in the United States.
Under the new law, undocumented immigrants will be required to wait 10 years to obtain a green card and wait 3 years after that to apply for U.S. citizenship. They will, however, be able to legally work and travel in and out of the United States while they wait the 10 years. This is an important aspect of the law because many have not seen their families in years due to an inability to travel internationally while undocumented.
Another important aspect of the proposed legislation is that only those who entered the United States prior to December 31, 2011 would be eligible to apply. This means that thousands of people who entered after that date would be left out and have to return to their countries or continue to live in the shadows.
Those who have been convicted of crimes will also be impacted and may not be able to take advantage of the new law. It remains to be seen which crimes will be waived and which will preclude applicants from seeking legalization.
Now that the proposed legislation is public, many scammers will attempt to victimize undocumented immigrants by offering to apply for benefits that do not yet exist. These people, often known as notarios, have preyed upon the innocent public for years in the unlicensed practice of immigration law (UPL). With the new legislation, there will likely be a spike in UPL.
It is important to seek the services of a professional, competent immigration attorney when seeking benefits from the U.S. Government.