A framework on immigration reform is taking shape in the U.S. Senate. A bi-partisan group of senators announced their plan for legislation that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country. As we have noted in our previous posts, the move is yet another step in the process of changing immigration policy.
According to an ABC News report, the preliminary plan would require immigrants to submit to a background check, learn English and pass an American civics exam, as well as paying back taxes and fines. Citizenship could take as long as 15 years, as most immigrants would have to wait for their citizenship applications to be completed.
However, the plan would allow undocumented immigrants to live and work in the country legally, and ostensibly without fear of reprisal (and deportation). This would also remove the inherent fear of families being separated in lieu of visas being approved.
Naturally, there are rumblings of opposition to the plan; especially from conservatives who believe that a pathway to citizenship is merely a reward for people who broke the law. In response to such criticism, the senators echoed sentiments surrounding border security. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that undocumented immigrants would not be put on a path to citizenship until the border is secured.
The politics behind the issue has also changed since the November election. Some Republicans have changed their positions after learning how a large majority of Latino voters supported President Obama. Essentially, some legislators have more to lose by opposing the plan.
We will continue to monitor developments in this story.
Source: ABC News.com, Senators reveal framework for comprehensive immigration reform, January 28, 2013