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The United States Senate passed the immigration reform bill in June 2013. This bill makes immigration to citizenship a long, harsh but achievable process that takes 13 years and allows registered immigrants to live and work in the United States and travel abroad without watching their backs for fear of deportation. Known as S.744 also passed to increase border security by investing more resources into personnel, technology and funding.
The other area is enforcement. S. 744 passed that within 5 years employers must ensure that illegal immigrants must not be granted employment and creates an electronic entry and exit mechanism that is able to check passports, visas and information for all immigrants leaving the country via airports and seaports by 2015. A biometric system will be placed in airports and seaports.
The backlog of 4.3 million green cards approved immigrants will be cleared within one year besides making the immigration system more modern by giving green cards based on merit to highly skilled professional and creating a new visa category for lesser-skilled immigrants. Further, it establishes a body that will analyze economic, labor and demographical data to set yearly limits on different kinds of visas. Immigrant farms are among the beneficiaries of this bill since they will be allowed to apply for a permanent visa once the bill has been enacted. It also increases the rights of immigrant workers thereby reducing violations at work. It hinders employers who have been violating the immigrant’s rights from applying to get guest workers allowing the workers to be more mobile to seek employment elsewhere where the business is registered
The Republicans are not to be left behind. In January of 2014, they came out with rules on the reform of immigration. Even though these rules have not been tabled on the floor of the house, the list includes endorsing 11.3 million immigrants whose status is undocumented. They, however, declined to give a clear pathway to citizenship with John Boehner the House speaker declaring that they will stall their moves until they are sure that President Obama is ready to enforce current immigration laws. Their decision on this matter is not unison as about 30 of them in the House have stood up to support full immigration reform aimed at leading to citizenship. Another setback to immigration reform is that Republicans in the House in June of 2013 voted to decrease funds in the program that seeks to protect those immigrants who arrive with children (DACA).
The Administration and the Supreme Court have also waded into the immigration reform policy-making decisions that affect immigrant reform. The United States Presidency is vested with enough legal authority to make decisions on immigration. The Presidency can give orders that grant immigrants differed action which could allow them to register, gets reprieves from deportation and receive work permits. For example in June of 2012 the Obama administration used its executive authority to grant 530,000 youth deferred action and temporarily protect them from deportation and allow the to work. It must be noted however that the US Congress is the one with the powers to permanently correct the immigration puzzle. Another example is November 2013 when Obama allowed undocumented immigrant family members of US military personnel parole.
The Supreme Court made a historic decision in June 2013 when it gave permanent residents the right to sponsor their spouses who are not born in the US to obtain green cards. Border patrols, fencing, and surveillance, have significantly increased since 2007; in particular, the border with Mexico has seen the highest security standards. The net effect is that unauthorized immigration through the borders has largely reduced, and the undocumented immigrants from Mexico are below zero.
Enforcement measures include the deportation of over 2 million immigrants since President Obama was elected into office. Interestingly most immigrants, 47% in 2012 were deported for only immigration or traffic violations while those detained saw an increase of 1000 from 2007.Measures have also been taken to against employers who hire undocumented workers. All employers are required to complete forms that they will submit to the federal government when they hire undocumented workers. Random checks are often undertaken by enforcement officers to insure these forms are filled and updated regularly.