The U.S. Senate approved and passed a comprehensive bill for immigration reform in June. This bill must be passed by the House in order to be signed into law by the President. This reform bill includes a variety or provisions, an important one of which is a provision to create a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for the undocumented immigrants.
Only those undocumented immigrants who entered into the United States before December 31, 2011, would be granted authorization to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status, a temporary legal status under the Senate immigration bill. The Senate bill would create this new status. To apply for this status, undocumented immigrants need to meet a variety of requirements and must pay their back taxes. They need to prove that they were present in the country on the above mentioned date.
People who entered the country illegally after December 31, 2011 will not become eligible for legal status under the Senate bill. Many believe that the United States will grant amnesty to all the undocumented immigrants, which is not true. The country will not grant legal status to all the undocumented immigrants.
Under the Senate bill, eligible undocumented immigrants would initially be permitted to apply for a temporary legal status called the Registered Provisional Immigrant status. To apply for legal status, undocumented immigrants would be required to give their biometrics and undergo background checks. They need to pay fines and back taxes. Ten years after receiving this status, eligible immigrants will be permitted to apply for legal permanent resident status and get U.S. green cards. They would then be permitted to apply for U.S. citizenship, three years after becoming green card holders.
The Senate bill will not legalize undocumented immigrants automatically. The country is warning foreign nationals who believe that immigration reform would legalize all undocumented immigrants and those who seek to cross the country’s border illegally, that they would not qualify for legal status and that they would be deported from the country.