Have a question about the Gang of Eight bill? Read through FAIR's Amnesty Bill FAQs below.
Under the bill, what can illegal immigrants do to force the U.S. government to grant them amnesty?
The Senate Gang of Eight amnesty bill (S.744) authorizes illegal aliens to:
(1) request administrative review if DHS denies their amnesty application;
(2) Seek judicial review of any denial in federal court
(3) File lawsuits against the government -- including class action lawsuits – challenging any provision of the law or regulations issued pursuant thereto as unconstitutional, in order to force the government to give them amnesty. (Sec. 2104, INA 245E(c), p. 120-129)
The authorization of class action lawsuits is only one of many provisions in the bill that gives illegal aliens the right to legally challenge any denial of amnesty, called "registered provisional immigrant" status (RPI status) or green cards offered under the bill.
How much would S.744 increase immigration over the next 10 years?
While Gang of Eight members refuse to estimate the number, the office of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) estimates this legislation would add 33 million new workers to the United States over the next decade. This is nearly the same size as the current population of California.
According to a report from Senator Sessions on May 3, 2013
The Gang of Eight has stated, "this legislation does not significantly increase long-term, annual migration to the United States" and has indicated the legislation shift the United States from low-skill and chain migration to high-skill merit-based. Conspicuously, however, they have refused to provide an estimate of future flow. A conservative analysis of the legislation, with low-range estimates for the new and expanded visa programs, reveals that the proposal would dramatically increase the future flow of low-skill workers and chain migration and provide legal status and work authorization to 30 million immigrants over the next 10 years—who will then be able to bring in family members, initiating a wave of non-merit-based chain migration that will greatly increase low-skilled immigration.
Based on immigration estimates, FAIR created a chart projecting future flow over the next 10 years.
Can employment records used in applications also be used in any prosecution or investigation of employers?
If a government official processing the amnesty application turns over employment records to prosecutors, the official will be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.
The government may not use employment records submitted by an alien seeking RPI status in any civil or criminal prosecution or investigation of that employer for illegally hiring the alien regardless of the outcome of the application.
In fact, employers that provide illegal aliens with employment records for an RPI application shall not be subject to civil and criminal liability. Additionally, anyone who knowingly provides these records to be used, published or examined, (except upon written request by law enforcement) will be fined up to $10,000. (Sec. 2105, p.130)
What loophole allows technology companies to hire cheap labor through the H-1B visa?
The bill allows companies with more than 51 employees to exceed hiring more than 15% of their workforce from other countries under the H-1B visa program.
Facebook and other technology companies lobbied for an exemption that allows them to maintain a staff of more than 15% H-1B nonimmigrants. This exemption allows H-1B holders to be excluded from the total count if they are currently in the process of obtaining a green card. They have now created a PAC and are issuing pro-Gang of Eight ads to ensure the bill is passed.
Click here to see FAIR's analysis of the High-Skilled Worker (H-1B) provisions in the bill.
Does S.744 prevent gang members from getting amnesty?
The language of the legislation specifically states that known members of “criminal street gangs” may receive a waiver for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status if the individual will renounce all associations with the gang.
At first glance, the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill appears to crack down on members of criminal street gangs. In fact, the bill adds aliens who are members of “criminal street gangs” to the list of those who are inadmissible and deportable under current law, and even contains a provision that explicitly excludes convicted gang members from gaining amnesty under the bill. (see Sec. 3701, p. 604-608)
However, upon more careful examination of the gang provisions in the bill, it becomes apparent they are nothing more than a mere attempt to appear tough. Rather, the provisions are so narrow that they will fail to keep out the vast majority of illegal aliens belonging to a gang, even allowing the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive the newly-created gang membership grounds for ineligibility.
Read additional analysis of this provision on ImmigrationReform.com.
In addition to gang members, S. 744 allows a long list of criminal offenses to be waived in order receive RPI status.
What are the requirements for the amnesty process to begin?
Under S.744, DHS will begin granting amnesty to illegal aliens who came to the U.S. prior to January 1, 2012 as soon as the Secretary of Homeland Security issues PLANS to secure the border, and to add fencing at the Secretary’s discretion. S.744 requires Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to submit these plans within six months. The legislation does not require the plan to actually be implemented before the amnesty program may start.
Who would the "DREAM Act" provisions include?
The DREAM Act grants 5-year path to citizenship to illegal aliens who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and regardless of their current age (basically a DREAM Act with no age limit). While the DREAM Act ostensibly also requires that DREAM Act applicants also meet certain education or military service requirements, DHS may waive these.
For additional information, please see FAIR's Summary of Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, the DREAM Act and AgJobs.
What is a “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI)?
After conducting required background checks, DHS may grant “registered provisional immigrant status” (d) Pays an unspecified fee and a $1,000 penalty, payable in installments (DREAMERS excluded from fine.) Aliens must be physically present in the U.S. on the date of the application and demonstrate that they were present in the U.S. on or before December 31, 2011.
RPI status is effective on the application date, is good for six years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the alien provides proof of employment, demonstrates income does not fall below federal poverty level, pays any taxes “assessed” by the IRS and pays the fine and application feeds. The application process can begin on the date that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) publishes final regulations, lasts for a year, and can be extended an additional 18 months at the DHS Secretary’s discretion.
For additional information, please read FAIR's Summary of the Regional Provisional Immigrant status, the Dream Act & AgJobs.
How many miles of fencing along the Northern border does S.744 require?
The amendment, authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), requires the DHS Secretary to explain any waivers of law when implementing the border fencing strategy, and states such waivers expire upon certification by the Secretary that the border fencing strategy is "substantially completed." Requires if or when the DHS Secretary implements the border fencing strategy, to consult with the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, states, locals, tribes, and property owners to minimize the fence's impact on the "environment, culture, commerce, and quality of life." The amendment adds a new section stating that the DHS Secretary is not required to install fencing or infrastructure along the Southern border if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not most appropriate method of achieving effective border control. The amendment clarifies that nothing in the bill requires the construction of fencing along Northern border.