Immigration Reform Update
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:
These requirements include:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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).