Nurses will have read that in May 2013, a panel of experts to discussed the latest developments around immigration reform legislation. The conversation focused on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup of the bill and the timing of a floor vote, the forthcoming comprehensive House bill, and the timeline for passage through both chambers. Panelists analyzed the bill’s current content and looked at how it might be modified over the coming months.
Nurses will see that the legalization of 11 million undocumented immigrants is a driving force behind the comprehensive immigration reform. However the legislation fundamentally alters the immigration system. There are three main pillars of the proposed bill: enforcement, legalization of the unauthorized, and visa reform. The biggest modifications to the bill revolve around the time frame for the pathway to citizenship, which currently stands at 13 years and five for Dreamers, eligible youth brought to the United States as children. Other major changes will affect the visa provisions for high-skilled workers and a new W-Visa for “essential hands” workers.
Visa changes also take place: the proportion of family-based visas would shift to favor employment-based visas. Additionally, a new point system is implemented that assigns a score to immigrants’ skills. Nurses will see that one of the biggest changes is that the United States will add more flexibility to the immigration system so that it can adapt to changes in immigration flows and labor market demands.