Immigrants face background check on path to citizenship

By Michael Klazema on 4/18/2013

With more talks concerning immigration reform happening across the aisles, immigrants may be facing long waits before obtaining US Citizenship. Right now, the Senate has announced a bipartisan immigration reform bill that will require undocumented immigrants to wait many years for green card eligibility. They might be allowed to work in the country in the meantime, but they will be held accountable for back taxes for their undocumented work. One other key hurdle in the path to citizenship is the passing of a background check. Immigrants with convictions for either a single felony, three or more misdemeanors, or a third category referred to as an “aggrevated felony” in the bill, will be barred from attaining the Registered Provisional Immigrant status.

Right now, laws already in place require undocumented immigrants to go back to their countries and wait ten years before even applying for a green card. Most are unwilling to follow through, citing their US finances, families, and businesses. Going back to their home countries would require starting over once again. In addition to this, some traveled to the United States to escape dangerous conditions or harsh rulers, and risking life in the US seems worth it compared to what they would have to face if they were to return home.

The new immigration bill will allow them to stay in the US, but requires their intent to become legal and a willingness to wait a long time. However, since they can continue working legal jobs, it may make their wait that much easier. The problem for many then becomes finding jobs that will take immigrants seeking their green cards. Because most businesses run background checks, they might discover sooner than the government whether or not an immigrant  has a criminal past.

The bill’s details are still being debated on the senate floor. Once passed there, it must go through the House, and finally to the desk of the President. This could take anywhere from weeks to months, and even if it is signed into law, immigrants will have to wait several more years before experiencing its effects.

Some of the most likely background checks immigrants could face include's  US OneSEARCH, which allows a business to check a person’s name and date of birth against more than 450 million criminal records. They could also run a US OneTRACE which is meant to confirm the name and address of a particular social security number. Obviously, these checks would be impossible if an immigrant did not have a social. However, if for some reason that person was on an international crime list, companies could be notified if their name comes up in a National Security OneSEARCH. This searches 70 national and international security sources for criminals, offenders, dangerous and wanted people from around the world.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



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