Immigration: Adjustment to Permanent Residence Status under Section 245(i) [Updated February 4, 1998]   [open pdf - 30KB]

"Under § 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an alien in the U.S. who, on the basis of family relationship or job skills, becomes eligible for permanent resident status may adjust to that status in the United States without having to go abroad to obtain an immigrant visa. Historically, only those aliens who were here legally (e.g., as a student or a temporary skilled worker) could adjust status under § 245. In 1994, however, Congress enacted § 245(i). That provision, which was set to expire on September 30, 1997, allowed illegal aliens in the U.S. to adjust status under § 245 once they, because of family relationships or job skills, became eligible for permanent residency, provided they paid a surcharge fee. During debate on extending § 245(i), some viewed extension as an incentive to maintain illegal residency and as a 'loophole' to 1996 immigration reforms. Proponents of extension cited the money made available for immigration enforcement by the surcharge fee, and the utility of § 245(i) for allowing families that include an illegal alien member to remain intact."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, 97-946
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