THIS WEEK’S IMMIGRATION NEWS UPDATES
January 28, 2013
Deal Just Announced on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The “Gang of Eight” just announced that it has reached a Bi-partisan deal on a Comprehensive Immigration Reform agreement to make sweeping reforms to the nation’s immigration laws and legalize millions of immigrants. The announcement came in a News Conference called to present the major terms of the deal. These Democratic and Republican members of Congress working together secretly behind the scenes on immigration reform, say they have finally agreed on the broad terms of the Bill which will be introduced into Congress shortly. The Gang of Eight includes influential Senators from both parties who have been charged with working out a Bi-Partisan deal on immigration reform that can be passed in Congress. The agreement includes principles worked out by both sides for a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws and includes a path to citizenship for millions illegal immigrants already in this country. While the agreement is short on details, which will be worked out as the proposal moves through Congress, it is a major step which reflects a very clear understanding and message by both Democrats and Republicans that the time is right– to pass a law on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The major principals outlined in the released agreement, include four major goals which must be included in the reform law:
1) Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas
2) Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university
3) Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants in the future, including requiring prospective workers to verify legal status and identity through a non-forgeable electronic system
4) Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn't recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.
The provisions of the law are expected to provide “legal status” to immigrants who are inside the U.S. and who are currently not in legal status, with a path to an eventual Green Card and Citizenship. And while not specifically stated in the principals, experts are certain that the final law will include an expedited path to a Green Card and Citizenship for immigrants who qualify under the proposed Dream Act and Deferred Action. The next step is for the Bills to be introduced in the House and Senate based upon the principals outlined and for the debate to hammer out the final terms to begin.
You can read the Principals released by the Gang of Eight and keep updated on the progress of Immigration Reform by visiting our website at: www.ImmigrateToday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter. You can also obtain a free copy of the Immigration Reform explanation & Documentation List, by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Republican Paul Ryan Says He Supports Sen. Rubio’s Iimmigration Plan
Former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate and staunch Conservative, Rep. Paul Ryan now says he is endorsing Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration plan. In his Facebook page, Ryan posted a statement supporting immigration reform proposals by Rubio, saying: “Senator Rubio is exactly right on the need to fix our broken immigration system…I support the principles he’s outlined: modernization of our immigration laws; stronger security to curb illegal immigration; and respect for the rule of law in addressing the complex challenge of the undocumented population. Our future depends on an immigration system that works.”
Looks like the Republican party has come a long way since its former policy of “Self-Deportation” now advocating “Legalization”. Political experts predict that both Ryan and Rubio will make a bid as Republican Presidential candidates in the 2016 election and see their recent public support for immigration reform as a clear campaign message to Hispanic voters and a warning to Republican colleagues that immigration reform has now become a vital issue to their party and its survival. The message is clear, don’t let President Obama and the Democrats continue to lead the push for comprehensive immigration reform – get behind the effort now and put the Republican party out in front on the issue.
All this political positioning by key Republicans in support of immigration reform is indeed good for immigrants and a very positive sign that once the reform Bills are submitted in Congress, the debate may move quickly. The only major point of contention expected to be negotiated between the parties will likely be the issue of whether the new “legalized” status of immigrants will lead to U.S. Residency and if so, the length of time that “status” will be required to be held by immigrants - before being eligible to obtain a Green Card and later U.S. Citizenship. Many conservatives do not favor any pathway to a Green Card, while Democrats are vowing not to approve any law which does not provide such benefits. This makes it very likely that the final law will provide a path to Residency and later U.S. Citizenship, but may require immigrants to wait at least 5 years or more after obtaining the new legal status.
You can read more about Ryan’s support for Immigration Reform and keep updated on the progress of Immigration Reform by visiting our website at: www.ImmigrateToday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter. You can also obtain a free copy of the Immigration Reform explanation & Documentation List, by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
THIS WEEK’S IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS
Question: Hi. My son’s wife filed for his green card, but she doesn't work (attends school) so I did an Affidavit of Support for them. But Immigration says that it s not enough - what else can I do?
Answer: Most U.S. Residents and Citizens who sponsor a foreign relative, including a spouse, are required to file an Affidavit of Support. If the sponsor’s income does not meet the requirements, a U.S. Resident or Citizen Joint-Sponsor can be used who does qualify. However, meeting the minimum income requirements can be very “tricky”, especially if an individual is self-employed, since in such cases, income is not earned by “wages” with an employer issuing a W-2 at the end of the year. Self employed Sponsors or Joint-Sponsors may think they meet the financial requirements since their gross income meets 125% of the Poverty Guidelines, however, the final net income on the individual’s Tax Return is the figure that the USCIS uses to determine eligibility, not the gross. As an example, a Nurses Aid may earn $30,000 a year. However, the gross wages reflected on the self-employment tax form called a Schedule C, are then reduced by expenses and the final Net income may only be $15,000, which would not qualify under the USCIS guidelines. When the USCIS issues a Request For Evidence to provide additional documentation to prove that the Sponsor (and/or Joint Sponsor’s) income meets the requirements, the Sponsor is generally only given one chance to respond to the USCIS request by providing a qualifying Joint Sponsor Affidavit of Support, Tax Return, Paystubs and Employer Letter which meet the guidelines. If the documents provided do not meet the requirements, the USCIS will not issue another Request, it will simply deny the entire case and all the filing fees will be lost. In order to proceed, a new Residency case must be filed all over again with new USCIS fees – very costly!!! So, make sure that a Joint Sponsor meets the income requirement on the net income line of the Tax Return before sending the new I-864 to the USCIS and include proof of Residency or Citizenship, Paystubs (3 mos) and a current letter from the Joint-sponsor’s employer stating the job title, # of hours per wk and the hourly wage or salary.
You can learn more about Affidavit of Support requirements by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.