Immigration Reform Bill’s Big Question is Path to Citizenship

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Should the 11 million immigrants living undocumented in the U.S. get a path to citizenship?

That is the big question as Congress prepares to debate immigration reform & citizenship in the next few weeks.

While some House Republicans agree that undocumented immigrants should get some form of legal status, most disagree with the Senate’s plan.

The Senate immigration reform bill proposes to create a path to citizenship called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI).

RPI would give undocumented immigrants legal status valid for six years with an option for renewal. After 10 years of lawful status, the RPI immigrants would be eligible for permanent residency, green card status.They would have to remain green card holders for three years and then they would be eligible for citizenship. The path to citizenship from RPI status to citizenship would take at least 13 years.

House Republicans say people who are living in the U.S. without authorization because they either illegally crossed the border or overstayed their visas should not be rewarded a special path to American citizenship. They say it is unfair to millions of people who are waiting in line for a green card through the current legal process.

Congress will return from its summer break the week of Sept. 9. All the focus will be on the Republican-led House of Representatives. It’s likely that the House will reject the Senate’s bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said recently the he did not support the bill: “We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate.”

The Senate bill passed in June and aside from the path to citizenship provision, it includes provisions to increase border security and streamline the legal immigration system.

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