In his second inaugural speech, Obama mentioned immigration as one of his primary focal points for the subsequent four decades. There are 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who stand to be affected by immigration reform. So what changes, if any, are we likely to see in 2013?
Possible Changes to U.S. Immigration Procedure in 2013
Trail to Citizenship
We expect to see measures put in place that enables undocumented, law-abiding immigrants to achieve legal status. Ideally, for most immigrants, this path would ultimately result in U.S. citizenship. As part of this class, immigrants would get assistance with learning English, along with access to a higher number of trained immigration coaches. In particular, we expect to see a path to citizenship strategy to both million’DREAMers’ in America, the undocumented immigrants who came here as kids.
US immigration laws can keep families apart for years, due to this lengthy process for obtaining family-based visas. As a part of this year’s possible immigration reform, we might see a re-organisation of permits to prioritise family unity. This could make family-based visas more available and cut back on time it takes to complete the procedure.
The U.S. Government already spends a substantial sum of money on border authorities, so it is imperative to have successful border control. We might see increased funding for immigration detention centres as part of immigration reform this year.
Penalties for businesses hiring illegal employees
To be able to raise the number of legal immigrants, the authorities may opt to draw a tight line with firms who hire immigrants illegally. We hope to see U.S. immigration laws reformed to increase fines for employers who employ illegal workers, along with stricter rules for verifying every employee as a legal worker.
Increased Visa Caps
This is a contentious issue, as a lot of people struggle increasing the visa limits for immigrants into the United States, especially in the H-1B visa category. Lawmakers like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida encourage these gains, which will permit a more significant number of skilled immigrants to follow a legal route to citizenship.
The government has prioritised immigration reform this year, and we expect to see some critical changes get underway shortly.