Earlier this month we wrote about the overhaul of the immigration system expected to take place this year. This past Monday, senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties announced the plan they had developed together. Noting that he and the senate appear to be on the same track, President Obama revealed the much anticipated details to his plan the following day, at a high school, in Las Vegas.
Under Obama's plan, immigrants who are not currently authorized to live in the United States could start the process of seeking citizenship by obtaining provision legal status. This status would be available after successfully completing the following:
- Providing biometric data
- Passing a background check
- Paying associated fees
Once provisional legal status is obtained, and while waiting for current citizenship cases to be handled, the individual would have to learn English. After that, it would be possible to submit an application for permanent residency and citizenship.
There are several other things worth noting in Obama's proposal. One is that young people who entered the U.S. without authorization would be able to seek citizenship via an expedited process in cases where they either served in the military for a minimum of two years, or in the alternative, attended college. Another group that would be eligible for the expedited process is those with family members who are already either citizens or residents of the country. In addition, permanent residents and citizens would be eligible to apply for visas for their same-sex partners.
Tech businesses were likely happy to hear that green cards would be made available to those from other countries who, after obtaining a master's degree or above at a university in the U.S. in certain fields, found employment in the country. Those fields include: engineering, technology, science and mathematics.
While nearly the same as the plan offered by members of the senate, there is one big way in which they are not alike. Rather than the clear pathway to citizenship in Obama's plan, the plan offered by members of the senate ties the citizenship path to an increased security at the borders of the country.
Many are optimistic that the bipartisan plan will be successful. Should it not however, the president indicated that he is serious about getting immigration reform passed. He said that should legislators fail to come up with a law that they could agree on, he would himself send a bill to be voted on. We will provide updates on the matter as they develop.
Source: The Washington Post, "Obama unveils his own proposal for immigration reform," Zachary A. Goldfarb and William Branigin, Jan. 29, 2013
- We handle immigration matters including those pertaining to citizenship. For more information on the topic, please visit our Miami citizenship page.