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Senators Propose Immigration Reform

Today, a bipartisan group of eight senators announced a proposal to reform the nation's immigration system. This proposal provides a path for citizenship for immigrants already living in the United States, and guest worker and employment verification system reforms. 

The plan's four central themes are:

  • Citizenship path for undocumented immigrants already in the United States contingent  on border security and visa holder tracking improvements.  The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.
  • Business immigration system reforms, including reducing current visa backlogs and fast track permanent residence for American university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.
  • Expanded  employment verification system for all employers to confirm work authorization.
  • Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.

While many predict the success of immigration reform legislation during this administration, these discussions are preliminary and no Bill has been introduced. In addition, the senators announced only general themes and working through details of immigration reform legislation will require significant effort and time. Accordingly, employers are reminded that if workers disclose unauthorized work status, existing immigration laws require employers to terminate employment and civil fines and criminal penalties are imposed for knowingly employing unauthorized workers.

If you have questions regarding this or the previously announced provisional unlawful presence waiver, please contact one of our immigration attorneys.

Also, please join us this Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:30 P.M. for a free informational session on both the provisional unlawful presence waiver and the potential changes to the immigration system.

© 2018 Varnum LLP

About this Author

Kimberly A. Clarke, Varnum, Immigration Attorney, Form I9 Audits

Kim focuses her practice on immigration matters, including nonimmigrant petitions, both employment- and family-based permanent residence applications, expatriation and foreign visa issues. She has developed expertise in the area of worker verification issues and managed clients through internal and agency Form I-9 audits, USICE compliance investigations and civil criminal charges.

Nina A. Thekdi, Varnum, Employment Based Immigration Attorney

Nina focuses her practice on immigration matters, including nonimmigrant visa petitions and both family and employment-based permanent residence petitions. She is a member of Varnum's Labor and Employment practice group.

Luis E. Avila, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum Law, Immigration Issues Lawyer

Luis focuses his practice on labor, employment and immigration issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Luis has counseled employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and...