Earned Adjustment Legislation Introduced in Congress

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02101546 (posted Oct. 15, 2002)"

Earned Legalization and Family Unification Act of 2002
Legislation to provide access to permanent resident status for qualified, undocumented immigrant workers and to unify the families of US citizens.

I.  Earned Legalization

  1. Criteria for Adjustment of Status: The Attorney General shall adjust the status of any undocumented immigrant to that of a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the individual meets the following requirements:
  • Continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years prior to the date of enactment;
  • A history of work in the United States in the aggregate of 24 months;
  • Passes a federal background check;
  • Establishes no outstanding tax liability or has rectified any outstanding tax liability;
  • Demonstrates a minimal understanding of ordinary English and a knowledge and understanding of the history of the United States, or is satisfactorily pursuing a course of study to achieve such an understanding of English and such a knowledge and understanding of the history and government of the United States;
  • Registers with the Attorney General at the time of filing an application and pays a fee to be determined by the Attorney General in consultation with Congress;
  • Demonstrates that he/she has not been a federal public charge; and
  • Applies prior to the sunset of the program 3 years following the date of issuance of final regulations.
  1. Family Unification: The spouse and children of a person eligible for adjustment of status under this provision are eligible for adjustment of status. 

  2. Work Authorization: Provides applicant and eligible dependents work authorization during the pending application. 

  3. Remove Obstacles to Educational Opportunities for Immigrant Children: Provides adjustment of status eligibility for children who have no eligible parents and who have been students in the United States for 5 years, remain in school and show good moral character. 

  4. False Statements Penalties: Penalizes any false statements made in the application by an applicant with a fine or denial of the application. 

  5. Judicial review: Provides judicial or administrative review for denials of an application.

II.  Family Unification/Visa Backlog Reduction

1) To ensure the availability of visas to qualifying family members and reduce the current backlog of visa applicants:

  • Remove the immediate relatives– spouses, unmarried minor children and parents – of US citizens from the worldwide cap.
 
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