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Immigration Bill Provides Path US Citizenship and Stiffens Border Security

The Senators have set border security goals and the Senate immigration bill states that the undocumented immigrants would be permitted to apply for legal status only after the US Department of Homeland security presents a comprehensive border security plan. The immigration bill requires the Secretary to establish the “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy”, after the immigration bill is enacted. The bill states that the Department of Homeland Security can use $3 billion, in order to implement this new strategy and this money can be used to strengthen surveillance and detection capabilities and to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers along the Southern border. Likewise, the money can be used to install fixed, mobile and agent portable surveillance systems and unmanned aerial systems.

The Secretary must also establish the “Southern Border Fencing Strategy” and the Senate bill will allot $1.5 billion for this. The bill states that the undocumented immigrants will be permitted to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status and that the undocumented immigrants may not be permitted to apply for this status until the Secretary establishes and submits the border security plans. The bill will also provide additional border security resources and funding for additional Customs agents and authorize the National Guard to be deployed to the Southwest border, for several purposes.

The pathway to US citizenship will be opened only after securing the border. As soon as the Secretary establishes the required strategies, undocumented immigrants will be permitted to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status in America. After establishing and presenting the strategies, the department must implement the security plans and establish electronic entry and exit systems at the ports of entry. Nevertheless, people who have been convicted of crimes may not become eligible for Registered Provisional Immigrant status and immigrants who were deported for non-criminal reasons also can apply for this legal status. This status will be valid for six years and it is renewable. However, a penalty fee of $500 must be paid at the time of applying for this legal status and at the time of applying for renewal. Immigrants who obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant status can apply for lawful permanent resident status after ten years and they need to wait for years to apply for US citizenship after becoming Green Card holders.

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