Immigration Reform is not Amnesty

There are roughly 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and under the current immigration law most of these people are unable to legitimize their status.
As of the time this article is written (March 2013), there is no amnesty and the immigration reform is still only in preliminary stages. Eight Republican and Democratic senators recently released their framework for comprehensive immigration reform and President Obama discussed his administration’s vision of what he thinks should be included in the bill to overhaul the immigration system, but so far these are only proposals and not the actual changes to the law. At this point in time, no one knows for sure if and when we can expect any actual immigration changes.

While there is no new immigration law that would allow all illegal immigrants to legitimize their immigration status, there are already some immigration practitioners who advertise amnesty and promise a quick and easy path to citizenship for all. These people either do not know what they are doing, and as such, they have no business practicing law; or they are scammers looking to rip someone off. Trust no one who guarantees to fix your immigration problems, especially if that person claims to be able to expedite the processing, “knows someone” working at the USCIS, or has “inside knowledge of the upcoming amnesty” that has not been announced to the public yet.

Even if there is an amnesty or even a change to the law that would make it easier to legitimize one’s status, it will not be a “freebie.” It is highly unlikely that the government will just grant everyone an immediate, permanent legal status. It is almost certain that just like DACA, any new law will include various requirements to qualify, and not everyone will be able to meet those requirements. One proposal states that in order to be able to apply for a green card, an illegal immigrant would have to pass a background check, pay a fine, pay back taxes, demonstrate employability, and prove English proficiency. No special treatment will be given, and those applying will still have to wait to find out if they have been approved or not. Under the best case scenario, it will take more than 12 years for an undocumented alien to become a U.S. citizen, and only if he or she qualifies.

At this time, it is best to wait and stay informed. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

About teperlaw

I am an attorney practicing family law, immigration and wills and estate planning. You can find out more about me and my firm by visiting my website at: 106 W. Franklin Ave. Pennington, NJ 08534 (609) 737-3030
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