The “Gang of Eight’s” comprehensive immigration reform bill is now at the starting line. It’s next hurdle is the Republican-led House of Representatives. You may ask, “…but what exactly is CIR? …And why should I care?”
There are a few very progressive proposals under the CIR Bill:
- Legalization: This permits those who are unlawfully present and who entered the U.S. before December 31, 2011 to file for their green card and in the mean time fall under a new status called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI). Eligible applicants would be required to pay a penalty and back taxes, but individuals in RPI status would receive work authorization and may travel abroad. They would also become eligible to apply for their green card after 10 years, and full U.S. citizenship 3 years after acquiring the green card.
- H-1B’s: Did you apply for an H-1B this year? Where you upset to see the lottery instituted? Many this year will miss out on the H-1B, not due to lack of merit or skill but simply due to the small number of these visas that USCIS is allowed to approve. CIR proposes to change all this by increasing the cap from 50,000 to 180,000 each year. ((quota to a floor of 110,000 and a ceiling of 180,000))). To add the icing on the cake CIR also aims to provide a 60-day grace period for those terminated while working under the visa and also providing work authorization for spouses of visa holders, something that is currently not permitted under the H-1B visa.
3. Fraud: If the CIR bill is passed into law it will make it a crime to knowingly defraud an immigrant or hold oneself out as an attorney when one is not authorized to do so.