Gang of Eight Bill Opens Door to Bigger Amnesty

Fred Bauer, National Review, April 16, 2013

Over at Talking Points MemoBenjy Sarlin has posted a legislative summary of the Gang of Eight immigration-reform proposal, which is due to be released by tomorrow. Assuming this summary draft is accurate, one thing is clear: This proposal truly lives up to the name of “comprehensive immigration reform.” It would be a far-ranging proposal, one that would substantially transform the immigration system of the United States. The major parts of the bill seem to include: a process for legalizing current illegal immigrants, a few provisions for enforcement, new provisions for employer-based immigration, new provisions for guest workers, and a legalization and guest-worker program for agricultural workers. The Los Angeles Times has a fair summary of the bill, as does Justin Green. {snip}

{snip} Most media reports describe the bill as offering a “path to citizenship” for around 11 million illegal immigrants, but the number of illegal immigrants legalized by the bill could be much larger than that. According to this summary, illegal immigrants could register for “Registered Provisional Immigrant Status” if they have resided in the United States since December 31, 2011. This status could be maintained for six years and could be renewed for another six years. After ten years in RPI status, individuals could apply for a green card. There is no requirement that an immigrant need to have worked to receive RPI status. What is not made clear in this summary is how an individual would prove that he had been in the U.S. since December 2011. Would a sworn affidavit be enough? The possibility for fraud could be extensive.

Moreover, it seems that family members of individuals in RPI status could themselves apply for RPI status. The summary states the following:

Spouses and children of people in RPI status can be petitioned for as derivatives of the principal applicant (but must be in the United States at the time).


In addition to this family provision, individuals who are currently under removal orders are eligible to apply for RPI status, as are individuals who have been deported if they are a spouse or parent of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen or someone who would be eligible for DREAM Act provisions.

{snip} The H-1B visa program would be considerably expanded, with the base cap growing from 65,000 visas a year to 110,000 visas a year. In later years, the cap could grow as high as 180,000 visas a year.

This Gang of Eight proposal would also create a new W-visa for foreign nationals to work in the United States. This visa would focus on what legislators consider “lower skilled” positions. {snip}


{snip} The cap for the W-visa will start at 20,000 per year and climb to 75,000 per year by the fourth year. After the fourth year, the cap will be determined by a complex statistical formula and by the commissioner’s discretion. The W-visa alone could have hundreds of thousands of supposedly “temporary” workers coming into the U.S. over the course of a decade, and these visa-holders would also be allowed to bring their immediate family members with them. {snip}


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