Press Releases

MYTH: There is a low bar for an illegal immigrant to prove 12 years of residency.

  • Senator David Vitter: “Say, somebody has been here illegally for 12 years and the proponents of this bill say they have to prove that and prove they didn’t leave the country. Well, no one in that position can prove that in a meaningful way month-to-month. So, it’s obvious that proof requirement is going to be a very low bar.” (The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/18/13)

FACT: There is not “a very low bar” for proof of residency. Instead, there are a series of tough tests over the course of a decade to ensure that only eligible illegal immigrants receive legal status under the immigration proposal. To initially qualify for a temporary Registered Provisional Status, illegal immigrants must use utility bills, medical records, tax returns, academic records or another combination of official documents to establish that they have been in the United States since before December 2011. At this point, they must also pay taxes owed, undergo security and background checks, and pay a $500 fine. Then, 6 years later, they must renew that temporary status, pay an additional $500 fine, and prove that they have been employed, paying taxes and not a public charge for the previous six years. After 10 years, if all of the security and enforcement triggers are completed and once the backlog of pending legal immigrant applicants is cleared, illegal immigrants granted Registered Provisional Status will be allowed to apply for green cards, but must again prove that they have been employed for the previous 10 years, paying taxes, and not a public charge, and pay a $1,000 fine. The burden of proof at every stage will be on the individuals, consistent with other existing federal laws that mandate residency requirements.

  • Senator Marco Rubio: “The burden of proof is on them to prove not just that they came here before that date, [but that] they have been continually present.” (The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/17/13)

Reporting accurately describing the high bar for residency requirements:

  • “If certain border security goals are met, illegal immigrants will be able to apply for a 6-year temporary work permit, which will incur a $500 fine and require a background check. After 6 years, immigrants can renew their permit, pay another $500 fine, and show proof of employment and taxes paid for the previous 6 years. If the remaining border security goals are met within 10 years of the law’s implementation, those immigrants who have paid their fines, passed the appropriate checks, and maintained employment will have the chance to apply for a green card, or permanent residency, through the regular channels that legal immigrants use now (albeit with an additional $1000 fine).” (Michael Warren, “On Immigration, Rubio Has Lots of Communicating to Do,”Weekly Standard, 4/16/13)
  • “A person would have to demonstrate residence in the United States prior to Dec. 31, 2011, have not been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors and pay a $500 penalty plus back taxes. Another $500 would be required after six years. After 10 years under Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, a person could pay $1,000 and seek a green card using the new merit-based system.” (Alex Leary, “Senators release immigration plan details,” Tampa Bay Times, 4/15/13)