U.S. Immigration Reform Proposal Would Make Sweeping Changes


By Emily Neumann

Senate Bill 744 sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) would provide sweeping changes to the current complex immigration landscape. Much of the proposal seeks to clear the current backlog of applicants over the next ten years so that a new system can begin. Here is what you need to know:


• Creates a new legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. since December 31, 2011

• This “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) status can be obtained for six years with the possibility to extend for another six years

• RPIs can work, travel, obtain a Social Security Card, or even enlist in the U.S. military

• $1,000 penalty to be paid for applicants 21 and older

• RPIs eligible to adjust to Lawful Permanent Residents and later apply for citizenship


• Eliminates the Diversity visa program

• Creates new Merit-based immigration system for eligibility for Lawful Permanent Resident status

• New system to award points based on education, length of employment, type of employment, entrepreneurship, civic involvement, English language skill, family members in the U.S., age, length of residence in the U.S., etc.

• Allows spouses and minor children of Lawful Permanent Residents to be considered immediate relatives

• Removes per-country limits for employment-based categories

• Eliminates Fourth preference category for siblings of U.S. citizens

• Exempts derivative beneficiaries (spouses and children) from being counted for purposes of the employment-based categories

• Labor Certification requirement eliminated for STEM workers

• Expands K visa to Lawful Permanent Residents


• Increases the number of H-1B visas available

• Allows work authorization for H-4 dependents if home country has reciprocal provision

• Creates a $500 for the Labor Certification application (PERM)

• Increases H and L visa filing fees for certain employers

• Provides for the ability of the Department of Labor to conduct more investigations

• Seeks to protect U.S. workers from job loss or wage suppression

• Allows immigration agencies to cooperate with State agencies to verify business existence

• Authorizes F-1 students to pursue Lawful Permanent Residence

• Creates new W visa for temporary guest workers

• Creates new X visa for entrepreneurs

• Creates new EB-6 category for investors seeking Lawful Permanent Residence

If this bill passes the Senate, the House of Representatives can either vote on the Senate bill or introduce their own through the same process. If two different bills are passed by the Senate and House, a conference will be used to resolve the differences, followed by another vote in both chambers. Only then can it move to the President to be signed into law.

Emily Neumann has practiced immigration law in Texas since 2005, representing both employers and immigrants. Neumann writes a blog on immigration law (immigrationgirl.com) and shares updates on Twitter (@immigrationgirl) and her Facebook page to help her clients stay informed of the latest news. She is a partner in Reddy & Neumann, P.C. in Houston and Dallas.

For further details contact Reddy & Neumann PC  at 713-953-7787