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Senators nearing new immigration law with path to citizenship

As the laws on immigration continue to be debated, Congress will continue to discuss the national immigration policy. A new national immigration law could have a profound impact on all states, including North Carolina.

In fact, several U.S. senators are writing a proposed bill overhauling immigration law. They reached an agreement about the method they want illegal immigrants to take in their path to citizenship. The bill proposes that immigrants would be required to register with the Department of Homeland Security. They also would be required to file and pay income taxes and a fine, in an amount not yet determined. In addition, the immigrants would be required to have a clean criminal record.

After an immigrant is given probationary legal status, that person would legally be able to work. However, with this status the immigrant would not be entitled to any public benefits, including food stamps and Medicaid. It has not yet been determined how long the immigrant would then have to wait before enjoying full citizen rights. Also, it is estimated that with the backlog, the process to get a green card could take 10 years.

It is important to remember that this bill is not yet a law. It is also likely that it may take time before this bill passes through Congress and becomes law.

Companies in Silicon Valley have lobbied for more H1B visas for highly skilled workers and software engineers. With concerns regarding the impact on American workers, the AFL-CIO and others have established a way to ensure the fluctuation of high skilled and labor workers. This would be based on job demand and other factors.

As immigration law moves toward change and new bills are proposed, the law can become confusing. An experienced attorney can help a person understand the immigration rules and immigration procedures currently in effect.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Senators agree on path to legal status for illegal immigrants," Brian Bennett, March 11, 2013

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