A few hours ago, on April 17, 2013, the "Gang of Eight" senators, released the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" as their proposed bill for immigration reform. The bill will be debated in the Senate in the coming days.
The wide-ranging bill would allow undocumented immigrants to become citizens only after a lengthy process and after border security improvements, along with strengthened enforcement and changes to the way visas are issued. Employers would also be required to check job applicants through the online E-Verify system to ensure they are authorized to work. Probably most importantly to future immigrant, it would shift the country toward merit-based visas based on work, away from family-based visas.
According to the bill, immigrants would be able to receive lawful permanent residence after 10 years in a "provisional status". During that time, standards in border security plan and employment verification must be met. A Southern Border Security Commission -- made of governors and experts -- would be formed to improve border security if those plans were not completed within five years. Meanwhile, undocumented young people and agricultural workers would be given a quicker pathway to legal status.
While this bill is a good start toward the much needed immigration reform, its future is still uncertain. Readers or Lin & Valdez clients should keep close eye to the development, but not jump to conclusion or action yet.