Immigration Reform

From the beginnings of this country, immigrants have been a part of our changing demographic and an integral component of the economic and social fabric of our nation. In 2011, the nation’s total immigrant population reached a record 40.4 million, comprising 13 percent of the total U.S. population. In that same year, the undocumented immigrant population was estimated to be 11.1 million. Clearly, immigration is one of the country’s most important – and contentious – issues of the day.

CLASP recognizes the deep impact immigration reform will have on the millions of low-income immigrant and mixed-status families and individuals in the U.S. Many of these families include children and often live below or just at the poverty line. And many may work in low-wage, poor-quality jobs without access to health benefits for themselves and their families.

Immigration reform will have a deep impact, especially for those who are currently undocumented. Provisions within proposed immigration reform legislation will provide an opportunity for individuals and families to legalize their immigration status and eventually become citizens, with full rights and responsibilities. However, for many low-income immigrants, provisions within immigration policies may still create barriers. Such provisions include 1) the lengthy time required to wait in a newly created Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, 2) considerable fees, 3) rigorous eligibility requirements to renew RPI status and to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, and 4) numerous other provisions. As the immigration reform debate continues, we will monitor legislative developments and advocate for solutions that best serve low-income immigrants and strengthen the communities in which they live.

Legislative Activity:

June 2013 - Senate passes comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

February 2013 – Senate “Gang of 8” and the president each introduced their broad proposals for immigration reform.

April 2013 – Senate “Gang of 8” introduces S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.

May 2013 – Mark up of S. 744 in the Senate Judiciary Committee 

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