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Immigration Reform Update PDF Print E-mail
What does the comprehensive immigration bill before congress mean for immigrants and those who aspire to become immigrants? 

Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced the STRIVE (Security Through a Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007) Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives in March of this year.  A bipartisan group of co-sponsors supported the bill. 

The STRIVE Act includes the following proposals:

  • Increasing the number of border patrol agents and immigration inspectors at the border between the United States and Mexico, creating a "virtual" fence along the border.
  • It would also allow for cooperation between the border patrol and the Department of Defense as well as the government of Mexico.
  • Increasing the number of ICE agents.
  • Increasing penalties for gang violence, failure to depart, alien smuggling, drunk driving, firearms possession and sale, unauthorized employment of illegal aliens, and money laundering. It also recommends expedited removal.
  • The creation of a system for employers to electronically verify workers' employment authorization; establish criminal penalties for employers and workers who operate outside the system; and would implement strong enforcement mechanisms.
  • It would create considerable criminal penalties for those who falsely say they are authorized to work along with increased civil penalties for employers who do not comply with the requirements. Serious criminal penalties would be enacted for knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens.
  • An "H-2C" guest worker program would initially be limited to 400,000 guest workers each year.
  • The Department of Labor would hire 2,000 additional inspectors to enforce the labor standards portion of the law.
  • People who have worked in H-2C status for five years would be able to apply for conditional permanent residency and ultimately citizenship if they meet certain requirements.
These requirements include:

  • Proof that they live in the United States and that they are employed.
  • Complete criminal and security background checks
  • Payment of a $500 application fee
  • Meet English and civic requirements
  • Show admissibility (certain bars to admission related to undocumented status are waived; security- and criminal-related bars may not be waived).