Immigration Reform – Immigration Law Experts Conclude that the Registration Procedures Will Be Similar to Prior Reforms, Recommend to Prepare Now

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For those who are illegal, undocumented or "out of status" in the United States, the time to act is now! Immigration Experts affiliated with the law firm International Law Group (Washington DC/Mayland/Virginia) have concluded that the procedures of the proposed reform will follow prior legalization laws.

"The past immigration measures and proposals, such as the 245(i) law in 2001, are a strong indication of what the Immigration Reform will look like. Lawmakers will not re-invent the wheel." Mike Meier, attorney with International Law Group, LLC

After several failed attempts at reforming the current U.S. immigration system, the time now seems right for real comprehensive Immigration Reform. On January 28, 2013, eight Senators (Democrats and Republicans) proposed a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a Government process (through USCIS, U.S. Department of Homeland Security) for legalizing the estimated 11 million "illegal aliens" in the U.S., and implement measures to better protect against people entering the U.S. illegally.

Although the details of the Immigration Reform are still under discussion, immigration experts at International Law Group have concluded that the procedures, such as the requirements for making a person eligible to apply for benefits of the immigration Reform, will likely follow past legalization laws.

The current proposals all contain indications such that prior procedures will be implemented. According to Associated Press reports, the current proposal:

A.    Provides a path to legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already here through applications to USCIS, as long as the borders are more properly secured and people who are with visas in the USA are better tracked.

B.    Will reform the legal immigration system, such as giving Permanent Residence (Green Cards) to foreigners who have university degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.

C.    Improve the employment verification system so that employers will not hire illegals.
Allows more low-skill workers into the USA to work in jobs where companies cannot find U.S. workers. This most likely refers to agricultural workers.

Recent Momentum

On January 29, President Obama announced an immigration reform program. President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has 4 parts:

(1) Continue to improve border security;
(2) Punish companies that hire workers who don't have work permits;
(3) Make sure that undocumented immigrants pay their taxes and a penalty, pass a criminal background check, and learn English;
(4) Streamline the legal immigration system administered by USCIS.

Now also a group of a several members of the House of Representatives (including both Democrats and Republicans) is working on a proposal to reform the immigration system, similar to proposals by Senate negotiators and President Barack Obama.

Look to the Past for Guidance

Experienced immigration attorneys are preparing for the Immigration Reform, and try to anticipate what the process will look like. Several attorneys affiliated with International Law Group, LLC (Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia) have reviewed the pending proposals, and concluded that the procedures will be based on past ones. They therefore recommend to start acting now.

The last immigration legalization program happened in the year 2001, when the U.S. Congress extended the so-called "LIFE ACT.” In particular, the “245(i)" law (Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA) came back for a few months, until April 30, 2001.

Here is what the 245(i) law provided for. Illegal aliens were allowed to apply for a Green Card at the immigration service INS (now called USCIS) if they met the following conditions:

A.     They had a qualified family sponsor (such as a husband/wife, parent or child) or a U.S. company sponsor (their employer) to file an immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140) or application for labor certification filed on or before April 30, 2001.

B.     They were physically present in the United States on or before December 21, 2000.

C.     They had not committed criminal offenses.

"The past immigration measures and proposals, such as the 245(i) law, are a strong indication of what the Immigration Reform will look like. Lawmakers will not re-invent the wheel," says Mike Meier, attorney with International Law Group, LLC. "The current proposal advanced by President Obama resembles that prior 245(i) law."

It is expected that the Immigration Reform will require that the applicant: (1) have a family or company/employment sponsor; (2) was physically present in the U.S. before the effective date of the Reform; and (3) complies with current procedures, such as paying taxes, being able to speak English, and not having a criminal record.

Take Action Now

"The best thing to do is to discuss one's cases with an immigration lawyer now and start putting together the documents needed to apply," is Meier's advice. "For those who are in the U.S. without valid status, entered illegally, etc., now is the time to act. All legalization programs so far have contained a Registration Period, meaning one is given a limited time to register. If one does not file the application during this time period, then the opportunity is gone and one cannot apply anymore."

Due to estimates of 11 – 15 million illegals in the U.S., one needs to take steps now to make sure to timely obtain necessary documents, information, translations and take all steps to prepare for the application with USCIS. You don’t want your case to be at the end of that line!

The time to act is now! Meet with a qualified immigration attorney to discuss your options. To contact a qualified immigration lawyer, here are a few references in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Florida:

International Law Group [Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC]
Languages: German, Spanish, English
Phone: (202) 580-8759
Videos about various immigration and visa issues:

Lee & Meier, PLLC [Virginia]
Languages: Korean, Spanish, English
Phone: (703) 385-3085

Transnational Law Group [Florida, Miami, Miami Beach, Key West]
Languages: French, English
Phone: (305) 537-2760

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