Representation in Removal Proceedings - Immigration Reform

Adjustment of Status

Immigrants without status may be adjusted to “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) legal status after the Southern Border Security Strategy and the Southern Border Fencing Strategy have been implemented.

Except for immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act and the Agricultural legalization, RPI status holders will not be eligible to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident status until:

  • the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is substantially operational;
  • the Southern Border Fencing Strategy is substantially completed; the Department of Homeland Security has implemented a mandatory employment verification system to be used by all employers to prevent unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States;
  • and, the Department of Homeland Security is using an electronic exit system at air and sea ports of entry that operates by collecting machine-readable visa or passport information from air and vessel carriers.

Individuals in unlawful status may apply to adjust their status to the legal status of Registered Provisional Status if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have lived in the United States prior to December 31, 2011 and have maintained continuous physical presence since that date;
  • and Have paid a $500 dollar penalty fee (except for DREAM Act eligible students), and assessed taxes, per adult applicant, in addition to all applicable fees required for processing of the application.

Spouses and children of people in RPI status who are in the United States can be petitioned for as derivatives of the principal applicant. Immigrants in RPI status can work for any employer and travel outside of the United States.

Individuals outside of the United States who were previously here before December 31, 2011 and were deported for non-criminal reasons can apply to re-enter the United States in RPI status if they are the spouse of or parent of a child who is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident or are a childhood arrival who is eligible for the DREAM Act.

The Application period will be for one year with the possibility of extension by the Department of Homeland Security for an additional one year. Individuals with removal orders will be permitted to apply as will aliens currently in removal proceedings.

The RPI Status shall last for a 6-year term that is renewable if the status holder does not commit any acts that would render him or her deportable.

After 10 years, RPI status holders may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status through the same Merit Based System everyone else must use to earn a green card if the following conditions are met:

  • Maintained continuous physical presence;
  • Paid all taxes owed during the period that they are in status as an RPI;
  • Worked in the United States regularly;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Civics and English;
  • and Payment of a $1,000 penalty fee;
  • and All those currently waiting for family and employment green cards as of the date of enactment have had their priority date become current.

Both DREAM Act and Agricultural Program beneficiaries are eligible to apply for permanent resident status in 5 years and DREAM Act kids will be eligible for citizenship immediately after obtaining lawful permanent resident status.

Individuals are ineligible for RPI status if:

  • Convicted of an aggravated felony;
  • Convicted of a felony;
  • Convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors;
  • Convicted of an offense under foreign law;
  • Unlawfully Voted;
  • or Deemed inadmissible for Criminal, National Security, Public Health, or other morality grounds.

In addition to RPI status, the following are proposed changes to both the family and employment-based visa preference categories:

Under the new system there will be two family preference categories and they will cover unmarried adult children; married adult children who file before age 31, and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents.

The current V visa will be expanded to allow individuals with an approved family petition to live in the U.S. and allow certain other family members to visit the U.S. for up to 60 days per year.

The bill repeals the availability of immigrant visas for siblings of U.S. citizens once 18 months have elapsed since the date of enactment.

The bill amends the definition of “immediate relative” to include a child or spouse of an alien admitted for lawful permanent residence.

The bill increases the percentage of employment visas for skilled workers, professionals, and other professionals to 40 percent, maintains the percentage of employment visas for certain special immigrants to 10 percent and maintains visas for those who foster employment creation to 10 percent.

The bill creates a start-up visa for foreign entrepreneurs who seek to emigrate to the United States to startup their own companies.

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