Senate Bill 2612: rights of current illegal workers

Immigration reform with a guest worker program may come up early next year in Congress. Let’s look at what the Senate bill from this Spring says. Below is a summary of Title VI in Senate 2612, the bill passed by the Senate but stalled due to the House’s draconian, enforcement only bill. This title deals with the rights of current illegal workers. Where I comment, I start with “PFR”.
The National Immigration Forum is the source of this analysis.
There are 7.5 million illegal workers in the U.S, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Roughly 5 million of these workers have been here for at least five years. They are allowed to stay so long as they meet the requirements for the 5 year plus workers below. Roughly 1 million have been here between two and five years. They can stay per the rules below. That leaves 1.5 million workers who are out of luck. All these figures are really soft.
Title VI Work authorization and legalization of undocumented individuals
For those in the U.S. for more than five years:
They had to have worked for at least three years during the five year period. The applicant must speak English. And, they need to pay $2,000, plus a $750 “state impact fee”, for a total of $2,750, “in addition to application fees.”
The bill’s language creates a path for these individuals to gain permanent residence status.
PFR: The 3 out of 5 years requirement will not be a problem for men, who have an employment rate estimated to be over 90%, For Hispanic women with children, the employment rate is estimated at below 60%; however, spouses and children of the principal applicant are OK.
For those in the U.S. under five years but more than two years:
These people will come under a new Deferred Mandatory Departure (DMD) status. They had to have been in the U.S. and working before 1/7/06 (this date will obviously be adjusted forward). They must pay $1,000 per application plus $500 for each spouse and child, and the applicant must also pay a $750 state impact fee. The application must be filed within six months of the first day on which the application form is made available (there appears to be no such timeliness standards for the over five year applicant).
The awardee will be able to work in the U.S. for three years. There is no clear path for these individuals to gain permanent residence status.
For those who entered the U.S. after 1/7/06:
On the face of it, these individuals must leave the U.S. However, they can apply for the AgJobs provision, which creates and agricultural worker program that includes earned legalization for undocumented farm workers. They can also apply for H-2C status (which I will describe in the next day or two).
PFR: I have posted on AgJobs before. This is a major concern of Californian farmers: they need the workers.

Comments are closed.