With the legislation going nowhere, President Barack Obama in June this year bypassed Congress, taking administrative steps to shield as many as 800,000 immigrants from deportation. The condition was that they were brought to the United States before they turned 16, are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, had graduated from a high school or GED program or had served in the military. They were also allowed to apply for a two-year renewable work permit.
The Kyl-Hutchison proposal, called the Achieve Act, requires applicants to enter the country before age 14 and they must have lived in the United States for at least five years.
It provides for three different visa levels: the first, good for up to six years, for students; the second, a work visa good for four years, and the third is a permanent nonimmigrant visa that would be renewed every five years.
Their proposal sets such conditions as saying that students may not have access to federal student loans or other federal benefits and that those with permanent visas are not eligible for public welfare benefits. They also stressed that the bill was not a path to citizenship and that those applying for a green card would have to go through the same procedures as other non-citizens. That differs from the Dream Act of two years ago, under which those who met the qualifications would eventually receive a green card.
Clarissa Martinez, director of immigration at the National Council of La Raza, the country's largest Latino civil rights organization, said she thought the GOP proposal was disappointing and fell short of what was needed. “What is needed here is robust piece of legislation that reflects the times and what the country expects to be done.”