The United States Immigration Bill passed the Senate panel, which means that the bill is one step closer to becoming a reality for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States who would be granted a pathway to citizenship.
However a plan that allowed people to sponsor spouses of the same sex for green cards was withdrawn from the bill. According to supporters of the bill, it was necessary to save the proposed legislation from being thrown out.
The bill would allow the up to 11 million illegal immigrants who are currently residing in the United States to have registered provisional immigrant status six months after the bill is enacted if they meet certain requirements. After this, the immigrant could begin the process to obtain a green card, which would be a 13-year process.
In addition, there are other provisions in the bill that would increase border security between the United States and Mexico by increasing the number of border agents and drones.
A last minute amendment also asked for an increase in visas for specialty occupations such as the H1B work visa.
Additional facts about the bill:
People who were brought to the United States as children can apply for green cards in five years.
The registered provisional immigrant status will cost $500 and needs to be renewed every six years.
Someone who has more than two misdemeanors or a felony conviction will not be able to apply.
Applicants who would qualify under the bill would need to have arrived in the United States before December 31st, 2011, and have lived in the United States ever since.
Next, the Senate will debate the proposal in June. For more information on this bill, check out the article from the BBC here.
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