House Democrats Introduce Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

On October 2, 2013, the House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act” (H.R. 15), which uses the Senate’s immigration legislation (S. 744) as its template.  According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), there are enough Democrats and Republicans to support the bill and Speaker Boehner should bring it to the House floor for a vote.

The House legislation keeps many of the provisions of the Senate’s legislation, including the creation of the status of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI), for certain noncitizens who are currently unlawfully present  and who entered the US before December 31, 2011.  DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) recipients would be eligibile for RPI status.  RPIs would be allowed to adjust their status to legal permanent residents.  Also, the Dream Act is maintained and allows certain DACA RPIs to adjust their status to legal permanent residents.

Overall, the House legislation makes very few changes to the Senate legislation.  In particular, it maintains the merit-based visa and points system, which allows replaces the Diversity visa and allows for individuals to obtain legal permanent residency based on criteria evidencing merit.