Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova Discusses Pros and Cons of Announced Immigration Reform

New York Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova shares news about the upcoming Immigration law changes.

Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova Discusses Pros and Cons of Announced Immigration Reform
New York, NY, April 20, 2013 --( Just this week, the group of senators who proposed the bill have finally revealed the draft of the Immigration reform bill that is supposed to improve immigration status of millions of undocumented residents. The Bill is not the law yet, and even if becomes the law, it is likely to undergo many changes. However, the Bill’s main proposals are available for consideration. Their analysis can help immigrants to make the key decision in their lives: should they wait for the Immigration reform or should they try to improve their status under the laws that are already in effect.

It should be noted that certain mechanisms that are helping those who have U.S. citizen relatives; and those who have come to the country as teenagers are already in place. They are I-601A provisional waiver and DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) regulations.

Immigration Reform and Undocumented Aliens
The main goal of the Bill is to legalize those who do not have U.S. relatives or who cannot be sponsored through employment due to coming to the U.S. illegally; overstaying their visas; or otherwise breaking Immigration laws. The Bill proposes to establish a category of “provisional Immigrant status.” To qualify for it, the person has to be:

· physically present in the U.S. on the date of the submission of the documents; and
· has to be physically present in the U.S. on December 31, 2011; and
· maintain continuous physical presence in the U.S. since December 31, 2011 until the person is granted the status.

Ineligibility includes criminal convictions; being in lawful status and triggering national security concerns.

The applicant will have to pay a fine; after the applicant has been in provisional status for five years, he/she can apply for permanent resident status and later, apply for citizenship. The way the Bill is structured right now, the person will have to wait for 13 years before being able to become a U.S. citizen.

The good news is that those in removal proceedings and with final orders of removal will be able to apply for the provisional waiver status, if otherwise qualified.

Family Immigration and Immigration Reform
The new Immigration Reform Bill proposes to transfer the F2A preference category into the “immediate relative” qualification, meaning that those who have permanent resident spouses or those who are children of permanent residents will be able to receive immigrant visas immediately. Currently, the average wait time for this category is 2.5 years. However, at the same time the Bill eliminates possibility of sponsorship of siblings, and limits the immigration of sons and daughters of U.S. citizens once they reach 31 years old.

Employment Immigration and Immigration Reform
The Bill also proposes to make significant changes to the employment visas, adding new categories and increasing caps for unskilled and skilled workers. Those changes are of interests to those who are outside the U.S. or who are thinking of changing their immigration status while in the U.S.

Asylum and Immigration Reform
Finally, with regard to asylum claims, the bill makes a revolutionary proposal to eliminate the one year filing deadline. Please note, that under the current laws, the applicant for asylum must file his or her application within one year after entry into the U.S. or qualify for one of the limited exceptions. The bill would allow the applicants to apply for asylum again by reopening their cases if they were denied asylum based on the missed deadline. Coupled with the recent class action settlement which makes changes to the asylum clock rules, this new provision, if adopted, will make a significant change in the asylum procedure and will help many fearing persecution in their home countries to stay safe in the U.S.

Should you Wait for the Reform or Should you Act?
To sum up, it looks like the Bill will in fact help many to receive employment authorization and ability to travel. However, it is also obvious that a person who wishes to use the “provisional resident status” will have to wait in line for a very long time. It also seems that if he or she qualifies for an extreme I-601 hardship waiver, I-601A provisional waiver, or DACA relief, the person should act now, rather than put their lives on hold for another decade.
New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova is a principal at the Law Office of Alena Shautsova, a full service Immigration Law Firm in Brooklyn, New York. The author can be reached through or 917-885-2261 and encourages her readers to contact her with questions.

Law Office of Alena Shautsova
2908A Emmons Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Tel 917-885-2261
Law Office of Alena Shautsova
Alena Shautsova
(917) 885-2261