While most of the details of the bill remain unknown, the media has released some information regarding its primary provisions. The bill reportedly includes provisions that would allow immigrants who arrived prior to December 31, 2011 to pursue a 13-year path to citizenship. Of the 13 years, the first 10 years would be a probationary period, after which immigrants would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residence. At the end of the final three years, they would then be eligible to apply for full naturalization.
The information available to the public has yet to specify exactly how they would classify the first 10 year period, which may lead to skepticism from proponents for immigration reform. However, given the little information available to the public, it is reasonable to assume that further provisions will be added throughout the process.
Several exceptions are included in the bill, including favorable requirements for agricultural workers and “Dreamers”. The 10 requirement is lessened to five years for both groups and allows “Dreamers” to apply for full citizenship immediately after acquiring a green card. This provision is aligned with President Obama’s initial actions with regards to the Dream Act, who spoke publicly about the act, stating that, though it currently does not fulfill everything that he had hoped, he plans to work closely with Congress to include his own provisions. In addition, he recognizes that it is a long, trying process and hopes that this enactment of this bill will act as a
starting point for further reform in the near future.
After reading through comments from various congressmen, I agree that postponing the unveiling for the time being is the right choice. The media attention surrounding the tragic attack in Boston has cast a negative light on border control and homeland security, and Congress must present the bill at a time when these rash, speculative associations have settled. With regard to the contents of the bill, I believe that providing the opportunity for citizenship for the several million people currently living in the United States without citizenship is essential. However, given the extensive waiting period, further action must be taken to ensure that the process is followed and that the rights of the 11 million people whose citizenship depends on this bill are not threatened during that waiting period. Their security during this transitional period is fundamental to the mission and purpose of the bill, and without any guaranteed protection, the waiting period seems ever more threatening.
I decided to focus on the specific details of the bill because it is important for advocates for immigration reform to understand the current requirements and provisions. Additionally, as this proposed reform is in its early stages, you still have time to contact your state representatives to voice your concerns and your support for increased opportunity for citizenship.
Disclaimer: "Author's Response" type of posts are written by volunteers in our community who are interested in supporting ECIRMAC's mission. Views promoted in the posts do not necessarily align with the views of ECIRMAC, and are intended only to open discussion to which anyone may contribute.