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Comprehensive Immigration Bill Introduced in Senate

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November 2010
Comprehensive Immigration Bill Introduced in Senate

Immigration is a complex and controversial matter which, in an election year, is likely to get a lot of attention, but not necessarily a lot of favorable action.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3932) was introduced in the Senate on September 29, 2010. The bill is sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NY) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). While Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) has been claimed as a priority for many years, there has not been a CIR bill introduced in the Senate since 2007. Other CIR efforts originated in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill involves proposed, not actual, changes in the law. The main components of the bill are listed below.

Enforcement Provisions in CIR Bill

This proposed bill contains provisions for enforcement along the border, in the interior of the United States, and at U.S. worksites. There is focus on improved staffing and technology at the borders.

For interior enforcement, the bill proposes improvements in tracking individuals who enter the United States legally (to assure timely departure and compliance), improvements in detention conditions, and enhanced immigration fraud penalties.  

Worksite enforcement includes focus on Social Security cards and the Social Security Administration. Provisions address the creation of tamper-resistant Social Security cards and other documents pertaining to work authorization, criminal penalties for fraud and misuse of Social Security numbers, Social Security Administration database improvements, and related changes.

Legal Immigration and Quota Changes

The legal immigration provisions include the creation of a commission to evaluate labor market and economic factors for the purpose of recommending limits in employment-based immigration quotas. These recommendations would be used by Congress and the President to set legal employment-based immigration limits.

Possible New H2C Nonimmigrant Category

The legislation addresses a new nonimmigrant category, H2C, in an effort to fill gaps in the current employment-based nonimmigrant options. The concept is that, by filling such gaps with a legal immigration option, unauthorized immigration will be reduced.

Changes in H1B / L-1 to Protect U.S. Labor Market

The legislation proposes changes to many of the current employment-based immigration categories, including H1B and L-1. These changes relate to protections of the U.S. labor market. Detailed analysis of these is better left until a later time, if and when the bill progresses, as there are likely to be many changes during the legislative process.

Provisions on Family Unification and 3-/10-Year Bars

Other changes address permanent immigration, including some exemptions aimed at family unification, including certain exemptions from the current permanent immigration quotas, revisions of the 3- and 10-year bars on unlawful presence, and relief for persons in relationships characterized as permanent partners.

Undocumented Foreign Nationals

The bill contains relief for certain non-criminal, undocumented foreign nationals. The relief is in the form of a new immigration status, called lawful prospective immigrant (LPI). This is a four-year, extendable category. After six years, an LPI could become eligible for permanent residence. The intention is not to provide with any unfair advantage to LPIs over those already in legal status and pursuing lawful permanent residence before any change in law to provide relief for undocumented foreign nationals.

Immigration Integration Provisions

This portion of the bill attempts to expand programs for immigrants to learn English and U.S. civics. There is humanitarian relief and there are efforts to stem undocumented migration pressures abroad.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR NOVEMBER 2010

 

FAMILY                    India                                    Pakistan/Bangladesh

 

1st                               15Feb06                                              15Feb06

2A                               01Jun10                                               01Jun10          

2B                               01Jun05                                               01Jun05

3rd                              01Jun02                                               01Jun02          

4th                               01Jan02                                               01Jan02

 

EMPLOYMENT      India                                     Pakistan/Bangladesh

 

1st                         Current                                                Current

2nd                      08May06                                             Current

3rd                              22Jan02                                               22Jan05

Other                          22Jan02                                               01Apr03

4th                               Current                                                Current

5th                               Current                                                Current

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