Summary of New Immigration Bill Proposed by Senate

On April 16, 2013, a group of senators known as the "Gang of Eight" introduced S. 744 a new immigration bill entitled the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act." There are at least eight main points in the bill:

  1. The bill allows noncitizens who are unlawfully present and who entered the U.S. before December 31, 2011 to adjust status to that of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI). Eligible applicants would be required to pay a penalty and back taxes. Individuals in RPI status would receive work authorization and may travel abroad. They would also become eligible to apply for LPR status after 10 years, and can apply for naturalization 3 years after acquiring a green card.
  2. The bill makes several changes to family immigration. It moves the current FB-2A category into the immediate relative classification, and allows derivatives of immediate relatives to immigrate with principal applicants. It eliminates the FB-4 category and cap the age of eligibility of married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens at the age of 31.
  3. The bill exempts several categories from the quota and make immigrant visa immediate available. Those categories include: EB-1 immigrants, doctoral degree holders, physicians who have completed the foreign residency requirement, and derivatives. The bill also adds a new "EB-6" category for certain entrepreneurs.
  4. The bill creates a W-1 visa for lesser-skilled workers, and also a W-2 visa for aliens coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform agricultural services or labor under a written contract. It creates a W-3 visa for "at-will" workers with an offer of full-time employment in an agricultural occupation. The W-2 and W-3 visas would replace the current H-2A agricultural worker program.
  5. The bill eliminates the one-year filing deadline and authorizes asylum officers to grant asylum during credible fear interviews.
  6. The bill increases the H-1B quota to a number between 110,000 and 180,000. It also increases the U.S. advanced degree exemption to 25,000 but it is limited to STEM graduates. It adds a recruitment requirement for all H-1B labor condition applications to have a posting on an Internet site designed by the Labor Department, and a non-displacement attestation. The bill changes the prevailing wage formula, adds EAD card availability for H-1B spouses, and also adds a 60-day grace period after an H-1B has been terminated from his or her job.
  7. The bill makes it a crime to knowingly defraud an immigrant or hold oneself out as an attorney or BIA accredited representative when one is not authorized to do so. It requires the identification of individuals who assist immigrants with the completion of forms and empower the Attorney General with injunctive authority to act against unscrupulous immigration service providers at the federal level.
  8. The bill requires all employers to be in the E-Verify system after 5 years.
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