Big Issues In Texas: Immigration Act

Texas Home to 1.6 Million Undocumented Immigrants, New Act Means Big Changes

Congress has turned their focus away from fiscal issues on to the issue of dealing with the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. In Texas, immigration law is something that most citizens are familiar with and know well, but after a new act was introduced on the hill, what we have all known over years can drastically change. The new act will change the way immigration works in this country drastically, and that means those who may be impacted by these measures need to pay attention to what they need to do to ensure they best make use of it.

New Immigration Laws for a New Era

In mid-April a committee of four Democrats and four Republicans, lovingly being referred to as ‘The Gang of Eight,’ introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The measure aims to address a number of issues, namely increasing border security, making it so undocumented immigrants can move to a legal status, and plans for future entry for undocumented immigrants to work and live.

Under the Act, those living unlawfully within the country can move to the status of Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, according to the Act summary, if they meet the following criteria:

– They established residency in the U.S. prior to December 31, 2011 and have maintained a physical presence here since that time.

– They pay a $500 penalty (except if under the DREAM Act), as well as assessed taxes for each adult applicant, and any additional application fees.

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– They cannot have been: convicted of an aggravated felony, of a felony, of three or more misdemeanors, of an offense under foreign law, have unlawfully voted, or for another reason on criminal, national security, morality, or public health grounds.

– Can apply for spouses and children as derivatives as long as they are currently in the U.S.

– Once in RPI status they can work for any employer and travel outside the U.S.

– Those outside the U.S. who were deported for a non-criminal reason, who have a spouse or child that is a legal U.S. citizen or RPI status can apply for reentry.

–  After 10 years, and having met the set requirements, the RPI status individual may apply for a green card for permanent residency.

Big News for Texas

As any Dallas immigration lawyer can tell you, this is big news for Texas residents. The Texas Tribune reports that an estimated 1.6 million of the believed 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States reside in Texas, making any changes to immigration law extremely important within the state.

Immigration is how this country was founded; there are a very small percentage of natives that are actually from this country, and we need to be conscious of this truth. As a population being accepting an tolerant of other cultures is what will help us come out on top, whether in economy, technology, or academics.

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