Obama illegal immigrant amnesty LPI visa details released

What is President Obama proposing in his amnesty?  While Congress develops a bill, the president has leaked parts of his plan to the media.  It is important to remember that this is just a draft bill that is not being submitted to Congress.  In any case, the Republican Senator Marco Rubio has announced that he and his party will not approve the president's bill.  In other words, while this information may hint at what may eventually become a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, nothing is final yet.

What will happen after approval?  If the president's plan is approved, undocumented aliens will apply for a Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI), that will be given in form of an identification card to show as proof of their legal status in the country.  This card can then be used for get a valid (if you already have a genuine SS#, you will keep the same number but get a new card) Social Security number (the new card will look like an EAD card or green card so no one will be able to use fake SS cards any more), driver's licenses, and this is the card that you will show to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent when you enter the United States at an airport or land crossing, along with a valid passport (in some states that harass Hispanic people, they can show this card to a cop to prove that they are legally in the country).  It will also be used at the time of starting a new job as proof of employment (employers will use the E-Verify program to verify your right to work and this card will allow you to do that).  The card will be valid for four years and will need to be renewed before expiration by submitting another application and paying fees.

Who will be eligible for this program?  The president does not provide a cutoff date on which the immigrant must have entered the United States, but an immigrant will need to pass a background check after fingerprinting and providing information on addresses and jobs held.  If you were convicted of crimes that led to a prison term of at least a year; or three different crimes that resulted in a total of 90 days in jail you will not be eligible.  If the crime was committed outside the United States, you will not be eligible.  You will be required to provide information on criminal activity even that outside the USA (you might wonder if USCIS, FBI and CIA can find out about your criminal past, and it might be true for some cases, but it is widely known that the United States government collaborates with governments all over the world and shares data on criminals, so hiding a crime is a bad idea, because if you are caught lying, your application will be denied).  The great news about this amnesty is that if you have used fake documents like green card or Social Security card or not filed an income tax return and not been caught, you are cleared for approval.  It is also a nice feature that if you committed a crime but were not jailed -- just paid a fine or were on probation -- you will still be eligible.  If you are in jail for breaking immigration laws or are in deportation, you will be eligible for LPI visa.  Another great news: no requirement that you learn English for this visa.


What is the application process?  You will complete an application in English and provide evidence also in English.  Application and/or supporting documents cannot be accepted in any other language.  Be prepared with your birth certificate, passport, photos, information on your residential address history, job history, etc. because that will be needed.  The fees is not yet finalized but it should be a few hundred dollars.  Also no back taxes be paid at this time and there is a $250 fine for applicants older than 21 (though there will be a discount for family members applying together).

Can I travel with the LPI visa?  You will be allowed to travel overseas as long as you return within six months, the way green card holders are allowed to, but you cannot move to another country or your native country and still be able to maintain status or apply for permanent residency later on.

Can I sponsor my family members like spouse and children?  After you have been approved, you can then file an application to bring your spouse and minor kids to the United States on the same visa, so they will also be legally able to work and study. 

When can I apply for a green card?  You will be eligible for a green card 8 years after Obama signs the law. 

How will I apply for a green card?  Unlike other green card applicants, you will need to learn English (anyone over 65 is exempted), pay back taxes, and learn about United States history and government, similar to those who want to naturalize.  You will also need to pay back taxes.  Needless to say that you must not commit any other crimes after being approved for LPI.

What if I don't want to learn English?  You will not get a green card and will either need to leave the United States or become illegal once again because the LPI visa will not be issued after a deadline that is expected to be about a year after it becomes law.

When can I become a US citizen?  If your spouse is an American citizen, after you get a green card, you can apply for naturalization after three years.  Otherwise, five years.

Will DREAMers get a green card earlier?  Yes, immigrants who entered the United States before their 16th birthday, will be able to get a green card after just two years in the LPI visa category.  There will be special privileges for going to college or serving in the military and spouses of DREAMers will be able to immigrate to the US on a speedy path.

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