Recent developments regarding comprehensive immigration reform in our nation's capitol are intriguing, but the plans are still in infancy and vague. On January 28, 2013 eight U.S. Senators, led by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), unveiled the outlines of an immigration plan. The statement of principles is rather broad. It sets out "four basic pillars": 1) a "tough but fair path to citizenship . . . contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country as required"; 2) reform our legal immigration system with a greater eye toward our economic needs; 3) workplace verification; and 4) setting up a system for admitting future workers. In essence, the eight senators acknowledge that the U.S. cannot deport the 11 million (or any substantial fraction thereof) undocumented immigrants. The outline can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bfksdrp. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on immigration reform in February, and some expect a bill in March 2013.

On or about February 16, 2013, the Obama Administration circulated a draft immigration plan, supposedly for use in the event an immigration bill was not forthcoming in the Senate. According to the New York Times, the draft plan says none of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country would be granted permanent resident status and given a document known as a green card until the earlier of two dates: either eight years after the bill is enacted or 30 days after visas have been given to everyone who applied legally. Given that there are backlogs for certain visas exceeding ten years, the eight year figure would seem to be the earlier date. The plan supposedly includes a shortened path to citizenship, however, for young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. Under the proposed plan, certain of those young people may be able to apply for green cards as soon as two years after the law was passed.

GKH will keep you informed of the developments regarding comprehensive immigration reform, and if reform occurs, will be ready to prepare applications and assist with experienced legal counsel. Please call the GKH Immigration Group toll free at 888-463-8117, or send an e-mail here for more information or representation in your immigration process.

GKH attorneys pride themselves on being on the forefront of new immigration developments to best serve clients located around the world. David Elliott has been practicing immigration and business law for over 16 years. Brittany Thomas joined GKH in 2012, and focuses her practice on immigration.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship or provide legal advice. Please contact the author if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject matter.