Waiting for comprehensive immigration reform? Some things to consider now.

by | Jan 29, 2013 | Firm News |

A bipartisan group of eight Senators recently presented this outline for comprehensive immigration reform. In a separate speech, the President voiced his support for comprehensive reform, and detailed a similar plan, while House leaders have reportedly also been working on a bill.

Given all of this support, excitement is understandably growing that comprehensive immigration reform may soon be a reality. While there is no new law yet, here are some suggestions people who may be interested in applying for comprehensive immigration benefits should consider now.

1. There is no new law yet, and there may not be one.

Given the understandable excitement for the prospect of immigration reform, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there is nothing new yet. Foreign nationals should not be fooled by anyone trying to get them to file for a new program right now. At other periods when there were similar hopes for comprehensive reform, some document preparation services (often known as “notarios”) defrauded foreign nationals by claiming they would file for them- even though the program did not exist yet.

Also, while many people- myself included- are optimistic there will be comprehensive reform soon, there is certainly no guarantee. Past efforts for similar reform have been proposed and failed. Therefore, do not make any firm plans assuming there will be a new law.

2. Be patient.

Remember, the proposed bills cover many different immigration issues in addition to legalizing people who are undocumented such as student visas, employment verification, visa backlogs, and border security. These issues will likely be the subject of intense negotiation, and may take several months to resolve.

Also, the proposed laws would require very large changes to the government agencies which handle immigration. For example, most plans call for all 10-11 million people who are here illegally to register and undergo background checks, which is would be a huge undertaking. Also, proposals include new or enhanced programs such as entry/exit systems, and increases in border and employer verification programs, which will also require time to implement.

Finally, most plans calls for people who are undocumented to receive a temporary status, which cannot convert to regular permanent residency until immigrant visa backlogs are cleared.  Some people who began the residency process over twenty years ago are still waiting, while the backlog for people starting now may be much worst.  While most reform proposals also include ways to shorten this backlog, it will likely be quite awhile before temporary residents are able to get true permanent residency.

3. Pay taxes.

First, the law requires taxes to be paid on all income, even if it is earned through unauthorized employment. Therefore, even without immigration reform, undocumented foreign nationals are required to pay taxes. People who are not eligible for a social security number can still pay taxes through what is called an “Individual Taxpayer Identification Number” or “ITIN”.

It is especially important to pay taxes now, however. Most versions of comprehensive immigration reform which have been proposed require applicants to not only pay taxes now, but to have done so in prior years. Those who did not pay taxes previously can still arrange to file returns late through paying “back taxes”.

On top of this, the procedures for obtaining an ITIN have become more difficult and time-consuming. If there is comprehensive immigration reform, it is quite likely that there will be many new ITIN applications. Given the new procedures, and the likely increase in people seeking ITINs, applying for an ITIN may become even more difficult and time-consuming than it is has been previously. Therefore, it is a good idea to resolve tax issues as soon as possible.

4. Hold onto paperwork.

Any version of comprehensive immigration reform will likely require applicants to prove they have been here a certain number of years. Therefore, would-be applicants should hold on to any paperwork which shows they were in the United States. Things like bills, receipts, medical records, and education transcripts can all be very useful to demonstrate presence.

Also, if there is a new law, applicants will likely need to show they were here the day that the law was passed. Therefore, it is especially important to hold onto recent documents if a new law is passed. If a new law passed, would-be applicants should consider doing something to make sure they were here that day- make a bank withdrawal, perhaps send a remittance home (and get a receipt), or something similar.

5. Educate yourself

As in past years, there is likely going to be a lot of fraud and misinformation about any new law. Therefore, before filing anything, it is important to follow reliable news sources and experts in immigration law who you can trust.

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Big News- Firm Merger and Consolidation to Oakland!

Bean + Lloyd, LLP and Park & Taylor has formed Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP

San Francisco Office has Moved to Join Oakland Office

We are thrilled to announce the merger of Bean + Lloyd, LLP and Park & Taylor, two highly respected Bay Area immigration law firms, which took place in April 2021. The new firm, Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP, combines decades of immigration experience in the subfields of family-based immigration, removal defense, asylum, humanitarian visas, and criminal immigration.

Additionally, the former Park & Taylor office in San Francisco has moved to join the Oakland office at 110 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. While the office is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19, our staff is still available by phone, email, and text message, and all consultations and client appointments will continue by phone or video. We look forward to physically reopening our expanded and improved Oakland office when it is safe to do so.

Partners Jesse Lloyd and Anita Mukherji, both certified specialists in immigration and nationality law by the California State Bar, lead the firm. Karyn Taylor has joined as Of Counsel, and Angela Bean remains as partner and Anna von Herrmann as Of Counsel. The Park & Taylor staff have brought their two decades of experience to the team.

Please contact us at (510) 433-1900 or www.beanlloyd.com with any inquiries.

¡Anuncio importante- Unión y Consolidación de Dos Bufetes! Bean + Lloyd, LLP y Park & Taylor han Formado Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP

La oficina de Park & Taylor se ha mudado para unirse a la oficina de Oakland

Estamos emocionados de anunciar la unión entre Bean + Lloyd, LLP y Park & Taylor, dos bufetes de inmigración muy respetados en el Área de la Bahía, lo cual ocurrió en abril del 2021. El bufete nuevo, Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP, combina décadas de experiencia en inmigración familiar, defensa de deportación, asilo, visas humanitarias, e inmigración criminal.

Además, la antigua oficina de Park & Taylor en San Francisco se ha mudado para unirse a la oficina de Oakland en 110 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Nuestra oficina está temporalmente cerrada al público debido a COVID-19. Nuestro personal seguirá estando disponible por teléfono, correo electrónico y texto. Todas las consultas y citas de clientes, continuarán por teléfono o videollamada. Estamos emocionados para reabrir físicamente nuestra ampliada y mejorada oficina de Oakland cuando sea seguro hacerlo.

Los socios Jesse Lloyd y Anita Mukherji, dos especialistas certificados en ley de inmigración y nacionalidad por la Barra del Estado de California, dirigen el bufete. Karyn Taylor es abogada retirada pero se ha unido al bufete, Angela Bean permanece como socia y Anna von Herrmann sigue siendo parte del bufete. El personal de Park & Taylor ha compartido sus dos décadas de experiencia con el equipo.

Por favor contáctenos al (510) 433-1900 o www.beanlloyd.com con sus preguntas.

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