The Senate immigration bill contains a pathway to US citizenship but obtaining US citizenship may not be so easy and the undocumented immigrants will have to wait for years to obtain citizenship status in America. Foreign nationals who entered into the country illegally prior to 31st December, 2011, alone will be permitted to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status and they will be permitted to apply for this status only after the US Department of Homeland Security establishes strategies and secures the borders of the country.
While applying for Registered Provisional Immigrant status (RPI), undocumented immigrants will have to pay a $500 penalty along with the required application filing fee and processing fee. After being granted RPI status, immigrants can legally work for US employers and travel outside the country. As this status is valid for six years, they must apply for renewal and while applying for renewal they must again pay $500. After ten years, they can apply for lawful permanent resident status and at the time of applying of Green Cards, they must demonstrate that they know English and they have paid all their back taxes and will have to pay a $1,000 penalty. Nevertheless, this will happen only if the US Department of Homeland Security meets the border security goals and until then the undocumented immigrants may not be permitted to apply for lawful status in America.
DREAMers and agricultural workers need not wait for a long time to apply for US citizenship and the DREAMers can obtain Green Cards in five years and they need not pay the $500 fine. Dependents of US citizens and Green Card holders who were deported from the country for non-criminal reasons also may apply for RPI status. The Senate bill will reform the H-1B visa program and increase the number of H-1B visas and will create a new non-immigrant classification known as the W-Visa, for lower-skilled workers. Likewise, the Diversity Visa program will be abolished and the US citizens may not be permitted to sponsor their siblings. A hearing on this bill has been scheduled for this Friday and upcoming Monday, by the Senate Judiciary Committee.