Pathway to Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants Still a Contentious Issue

Much needed Immigration reform is still a hot topic across the United States. The need for reform was one of the key policy decision that was expected to be acted on by Congress this year. The reform was regarded as crucial because of the growing number of illegal immigrants in the country who are living on the margins of society, making it doubly difficult for effective law enforcement as well as collection of tax from both the immigrants themselves as well as their employers.

Pathway to Citizenship

The Senate passed a broad bipartisan bill in June 2013, which would pave the way for the 11.7 million immigrants estimated to be living and working here to eventually become U.S. citizens. The track to citizenship would take 13 years and would be dependent on fulfilling certain stringent requirements, including paying back taxes, passing criminal background checks and a requirement to speak English. The reform proposals would also see those businesses who had been employing immigrants who have no documentation paying tax as well.

Support for the proposals comes from a recent report from the non partisan Public Religion Research Institute, which has released figures which indicate that 63% of Americans are in favor of the citizenship proposal. The figures cross both party and religious lines. The report showed that only 14% of the surveyed population voiced support for an alternative proposal – that the immigrants be granted a non citizen residence status – slightly less than the 18% polled who supported tough identification and deportation measures.

The pathway to citizenship proposal is likely to be the most contentious issue when the raft of bills expected to go before Congress next year are discussed. House Republicans remain divided on the issue of citizenship, although the majority concede that immigration reform is vital to clarify the status of the large number involved and bring them out from the shadows. Any important policy debate is likely to be hotly debated in what will be an election year and it is likely that all House representatives will be wondering what their vote on the issue will do to their election prospects. A significant number of Republicans favor the alternative proposal – that of a pathway to permanent residence, but not citizenship. Undoubtably, any compromise regarding immigration reform remains to be an uphill battle as there is still considerable resistance among many House Republicans.

Article Source: Law office of Spojmie Nasiri

Author: Spojmie Nasiri