Undocumented Immigrants to Receive Legal Status, Work and Travel Authorization


By Rahul Reddy & Liz Mary Cleveland

HOUSTON: In completing the Senate Judiciary Committee markup process last week, the Senate’s comprehensive immigration form bill cleared a substantial hurdle on its path to becoming law.  This bill, S. 744 The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, offers meaningful benefits to undocumented immigrants in the form of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status.   The Senate RPI Plan allows qualified undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to become documented by filing an application to adjust to RPI status.  If granted, RPI status holders will enjoy a 6 year temporary protected status during which they may travel and work with authorization and will eventually be provided a path to a green card, provided they meet certain requirements.

Provided the proposed plan becomes law, in order to be eligible for RPI status an applicant must meet the following requirements:

1) must have been physically present in the United States on or December 31, 2011

2) must  have maintained continuous residence in the United States since December 31, 2011;

3) must have a clean criminal record;

4) must pay $1000 penalty in addition to the filling fee;

5) must  pay all federal taxes for which they are liable; and

6) must  not have been in a lawful nonimmigrant or immigrant status when the bill was introduced into the Senate in April 2013.

A clean immigration record is not required to qualify for RPI Status. Any individual who remains in the U.S. despite a removal or voluntary departure order is still eligible to apply.

Although the Senate bill is still working its way through the legislative process, we are optimistic that a comprehensive immigration reform bill will pass in late July 2013 and will be signed into effect by the President in August 2013.   The initial application period for RPI status will last 12 months and will begin immediately upon the law taking affect. However, no applications will be processed until the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security submits a border security plan to Congress, which may take up to 6 months after the bill’s passage.

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