Senate passes immigration bill
The Senate passed their immigration bill by an overwhelming majority, 68 to 32. From the start we defined victory as a real path to citizenship for 11 million Americans without papers – today we are one huge step closer!
The border security amendments recently added to the bill to attract enough Republican votes to pass the overall legislation were a bitter pill to swallow, but on balance we believe this bill is a big win for our community. It puts the vast majority of 11 million undocumented immigrants on an immediate path to legal status and an eventual path to citizenship. It gives DREAMers an expedited path to citizenship. It even allows some families who’ve been separated by deportation to be reunited!
This is a historic day and a time for all of us to celebrate. But we also want to be straight with you. The fight is only going to get harder from here.
The good news is that, right now, a bipartisan majority exists in the House of Representatives that supports reform with a pathway to citizenship. The bad news is that, currently House Republicans don’t want to let that majority express its will because it is made up mostly of Democrats. It will be up to Speaker Boehner and the Republican leaders in the House to decide. Will they try to block reform and opt for the status quo? Or will they make history and pass landmark immigration reform?
It’s up to all of us to make sure they make the right choice.
Here are some of the incredible things you and I won together:
- Path to citizenship for vast majority of the 11 million!!!
- While in RPI status, immigrants can work, travel and live without fear of deportation
- Reunification of many families separated by deportation
- 5 year path to citizenship for DREAMers
- DACA recipients will have RPI status expedited
- Farm workers will get a ‘blue card’ and will be on a 5 year path to citizenship
- Expedited path for those already here in a temporary status
- Families that have spent years, even decades waiting for their turn in line will finally be reunited
- Spouses and children of LPRs would be considered immediate family members and therefore would no longer be subject to arbitrary visa caps
- Allows DREAMers to become citizens through military service
- Immigrants on the path to citizenship can pay fees in installments
- Individuals with final removal orders may be eligible for RPI status
- Beacons for those toiling at the border
- New temporary worker programs that protects immigrant workers and American labor force
- All workers, including RPIs, will be treated equally by the tax system and eligible for tax credits
- Spouses of H-1B holders will now be able to work
- Immigration Judges will have some flexibility to consider individual factors when making decisions
- Children and the mentally disabled will be eligible for court appointed counsel in immigration proceedings
- Removal of filing deadline for asylum seekers
- Encourages immigrant integration through more targeted programs and foundations to help legal immigrants become citizens
- Inclusion of POWER Act, bolsters legal remedies to immigrant workers who are fired in violation of labor laws
- Strict limits on solitary confinement in immigration detention facilities
- Asylum applicants will be granted work authorization within 180 days of filing an application
- Provides immigration status to certain battered spouses and children
- Prohibit ICE from conducting raids/arrests outside schools, churches, hospitals and other “sensitive locations”
- Prohibits deportation of immigrants for a crime that wasn’t a deportable/inadmissible offense when committed
- Makes it substantially easier for both LPRs and non-LPRs to qualify for cancellation of removal, and removes the cap on the number of cancellations that DOJ/DHS can grant in a year
- Protects the ability of W visaholders (essential workers) to change jobs
- Ensures access to affordable housing for battered immigrants
- Encourages alternatives to immigration detention
- More protections for workers recruited abroad
- Stricter penalties for notario fraud
- Requires a use-of-force policy among all DHS agencies
- Future work-visa holders will be able to self-petition for green cards rather than relying on employers to decide whether they can call America home for good