Outgoing US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, introduced a bill that would focus on the minors and grant lawful status to undocumented immigrants who entered America as minors. This is called the Achieve Act, that would design a new visa system and would allow the undocumented immigrants to pursue education and serve in the US armed forces.
Hutchison, who has been serving the US Senate since 1993, says that though this act is not a comprehensive immigration reform that is expected by millions of undocumented immigrants in the country, it will address the same issue. However, she says that this act may not allow the undocumented immigrants to obtain US citizenship. But the Achieve Act, proves that the Republicans are focusing on immigration.
Most of the undocumented immigrants in the United States were smuggled into the country through on fault on their part. Though they are undocumented, they are productive and it is not fair to deport them, according to Hutchison. She also said that the people who abide by the laws of the United States, while in the country, are eligible for lawful status and only the individuals who follow and respect the country’s laws can become US citizens and they cannot automatically obtain US citizenship.
Achieve Act proposed by Hutchison, is similar to the deferred action policy, enforced by President Obama. Deferred action will be granted to undocumented immigrants who entered America as children and those who are below age 31 and above 16. Such individuals who meet the key criteria, will be allowed to remain in America for two years and they will also be granted employment authorization documents.
According to Hutchison’s proposal, applicants must have entered the United States before the age of 14 and they must have lived in the country for five years. They must not have criminal records and they must know about the country’s history and must know English. If the applicants meet the requirements, they will be granted W-1 visas. However, recipients of W-1 visas may not become eligible for federal aids for education and for other federal benefits. Such undocumented immigrants will be allowed to work legally in the country and they may later apply for permanent non-immigrant visas.