The Senate immigration reform bill includes a legalization provision and it would grant the country’s undocumented residents provisional residency. This bill would create a new status, the Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status and after the legislation of the Gang of Eight is signed into law, undocumented immigrants could apply for this status. This status would be meant for the undocumented immigrants who entered into America before 1st January 2012. Undocumented immigrants to become eligible for this temporary status must establish that they have maintained continuous physical presence in America. Nevertheless, brief departures may not affect their applications for RPI status.
Undocumented immigrants to become eligible for this status need to meet a variety of eligibility requirements and they need to pay off their back taxes. They need to pay fines and establish by submitting verifiable documentation that they are eligible for lawful status in the United States. This status would be good for six years and the Registered Provisional Immigrants can renew their status at the end of the six year period and continue to live in the country. During that six year period, undocumented immigrants could legally work in America and live there with their families. Provisional residency would also permit them to travel abroad freely and re-enter the country.
Moreover, immigrants who apply for RPI status could include their spouses and children in their applications and their immediate relatives would become eligible for derivative status. Nevertheless, immediate relatives must meet all the requirements and establish that they entered the country before 31st December, 2011. If they are eligible, they would also be granted provisional residency on the date the primary applicants are granted provisional residency. Immigrants could renew this status and at the time of applying for renewal they would be required to establish that their income is above the poverty line and that they have not been convicted of crimes. Residents in this status, would be permitted to apply for Green Cards but they need to wait for ten years to obtain Green Cards. However, this would happen only after the US Department of Homeland Security establishes that it has stiffened border security.
After living in the country for ten years as Registered Provisional Immigrants, these immigrants could apply for permanent resident status and to apply for Green Cards, they need to pay a $1000 penalty. At the same time, they would be required to prove that they know enough about the country’s history and that they are good in English. Finally, immigrants who obtain Green Cards can apply for US citizenship, after three years. As this RPI status is only a temporary status, immigrants in this status would be deported if they are found to violate the country’s immigration laws. Likewise, immigrants who are ineligible for this status would be subject to deportation and this would also apply to the undocumented immigrants who entered the country after 31st December, 2011.