Everything You Need To Know About the Bipartisan Immigration Bill

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An Overview of the Bipartisan Immigration Bill

The bipartisan immigration bill refers to the Dignity Act bill that was introduced to the United States House of Representatives in May 2023 by republican congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar and democrat Veronica Salazar.

It is called a bipartisan bill because it has generated support and sponsorship from congressmen and women from both political parties, which is quite rare. 

The bill promises to make several revolutionary changes and provide long-term solutions to help the economy grow, increase national security, especially at U.S. borders, and make it easier for immigrants to gain lawful entry into the U.S.

If passed, the bill would have several effects on the immigration application procedure for prospective immigrants and the immigration status of foreign nationals already present in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants. 

If you belong to any of these immigrant categories, you might have questions about the implications of the bill on your American dream. Below, we examine the bill’s key provisions to keep you informed and help you understand what to expect if the bill becomes law.

Keep reading to learn more.

The Purpose of the Bipartisan Immigration Bill

The bipartisan immigration bill enjoys bipartisan support likely because many reps from both sides of the political divide believe that it can fix the broken immigration system and agree with its core purposes, which is to;

  • Stop illegal immigration

  • Provide a dignified solution for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

  • Strengthen the American workforce and economy

  • Ensure the U.S. economy remains prosperous in the future.

The bill’s contents are based on these objectives, which balance the humanitarian needs of immigrants with border security and the country’s economic needs.

Contents of the Bipartisan Immigration Bill

The bipartisan bill contains several progressive provisions that could bring about the much-needed immigration reform in the U.S. Some of its crucial provisions that could affect you as a (prospective) immigrant are explained below.

Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

As an undocumented immigrant, you may no longer have to hide from the authorities if the bill is passed. The bill provides several pathways to help you get right with the law and obtain shelter against deportation. The primary innovation that is meant to fulfill this goal is the establishment of the seven-year dignity program.

The dignity program would allow undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least five years to get right with the law, obtain legal status and the right to work if they meet certain requirements, including the following;

  • Pass a background check

  • Have not committed a felony or two misdemeanor offenses

  • Pay outstanding taxes or debts

  • Remain of good behavior.

Those who qualify would remain in the program for seven years each. During that time, they would be ineligible for certain federal entitlements. They would also need to check in with the Department of Homeland Security every two years.

What Happens After the Dignity Program?

After an immigrant’s seven years under the dignity program have expired, they have two options under the bill;

Apply for Dignity Status

Beneficiaries of the dignity program who choose this option will receive a five-year dignity status, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. and travel out of the country and back. But they would be classified as non-immigrants and remain ineligible for citizenship and government benefits meant for low-income earners.

Dignity status can be renewed continuously as long as the individual remains in good standing with the law.

Register for the Redemption Program

The redemption program is available to those who have completed the dignity program. It offers those who qualify a pathway to lawful permanent residence if they meet the requirements.

Those who qualify will be granted conditional redemption status, valid for five years and indefinitely renewable. However, this status may be terminated if the applicant fails to meet certain conditions, including the following:

  • Report to the Secretary of Homeland Security biennially

  • Payment of $2,000 each time they report until $5,000 has been paid

  • Maintain good standing within their community

  • Learn English language and U.S. civics.

Asylum Reforms

The bill aims to reform the asylum system by mandating the establishment of five humanitarian campuses along the southern U.S. border. These campuses will house asylum seekers who arrive at the border and their families until their cases are decided.

The bill also provides for the expedited processing of asylum applications, which must be completed within 60 days. Hopefully, these reforms will help clear the backlog of asylum seekers waiting for a hearing.

Student Visa Reforms

Under the current immigration legislation, student visas are classified as non-immigrant visas. Those who apply for such visas must demonstrate that they do not intend to remain in the U.S. after their studies; otherwise, their application will fail. Also, there is no direct pathway to citizenship for student visa holders.

This may change if the bill is enacted. Under the bill, student visas will be upgraded from non-immigrant to dual intent visas. This means that individuals could take steps toward securing permanent residence in the U.S. while pursuing or on a student visa.

What Is the Current Status of the Bipartisan Immigration Bill?

There are four stages that a bill must pass through before it becomes law in the U.S.;

  1. It is introduced
  2. It is passed by the House of Representatives
  3. It is passed by the Senate
  4. It is signed by the president.

As of September 2023, the bipartisan immigration bill is still under review by the House of reps after its introduction and hasn’t been passed. So, it has only gone through the first stage.

Even though the bill enjoys bipartisan support, it is still a complex piece of legislation. Further questions or issues may arise as it undergoes review. As such, the likelihood of the bill passing is debatable. Even if it does pass, it could take a while.

How an Attorney Can Help

The U.S. immigration system is complex and constantly changing. Prospective immigrants often find it difficult to navigate the system and meet the legal requirements that would allow them to qualify for visas or other immigration benefits.

If the bill passes, it would lead to a new set of changes and the development of new immigration procedures that may be difficult to understand. An immigration attorney can help in such circumstances if you need to pursue any immigration benefit under the law.

These lawyers are trained to understand how immigration laws work. They can help you understand how the existing laws and the new legal regime would affect your case, bringing you one step closer to your American dream.

Speak to an Experienced Immigration Attorney at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law Today

The bipartisan immigration bill offers a lot of hope and promise for immigrants within and outside the U.S. But it is difficult to tell when the bill will become law. So, even though it may make things easier, you do not have to pause your immigration dreams indefinitely, waiting for it to be passed.

There are several options under the current immigration system that could help you attain lawful resident status in the U.S., depending on your goals and current immigration status. You can explore those options while the bill is pending. Who knows, you might have achieved success even before the bull becomes law.

The knowledgeable immigration lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, can offer you personalized legal counsel and help clarify your options under the law.

If you have questions about the U.S. immigration system or want to begin the immigration process, do not hesitate to contact us. Let us share your concerns, assess your case, and help you determine the appropriate course of action.