Big Plans in Washington for Illegal Immigrants

According to sources of the Washington Post, a bipartisan Senate group is considering a plan that would allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. The plan would allow immigrants in the country illegally the chance to become citizens after 13 years – ten years to earn legal status, and three more years to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. This is different from President Obama’s recently proposed plan that would have granted a green card in eight years and the potential for citizenship in just five. The bipartisan group consists of a total of eight senators, four from each major party.

The intent behind the plan would be to provide citizenship to immigrants who have paid their taxes and who have contributed to America’s economy – approximately 11 million of these types of immigrants are estimated to be living illegally in the United States. While still in the early phases of negotiation, a finalized bill is expected to be revealed by April 2013, that would then need the approval of the rest of Congress.

Both Sides Arguing Passionately

Democrats argue for shorter waiting periods, stating that longer waiting periods would discourage illegal immigrants from wanting to apply, while Republicans argue that it would be unfair to grant citizenship to those who have been in the country illegally faster than to those who applied for citizenship through legal channels. The House of Representatives, the other arm of the legislative branch of America’s government, is working on its own proposal that is expected to be released within a few weeks. Both plans are expected to serve as templates for an immigration reform compromise between the White House and Congress.

Navigating the Policy

If anything, this story illustrates just how fluid American immigration policy really is. It is constantly changing and almost always up for debate. These days, the policy appears to be one toward allowing and creating paths to citizenship for currently undocumented immigrants. The big question seems to be how much time to make illegal immigrants wait before they would be allowed to seek residency or full citizenship status.

Unfortunately, this can all be very difficult to understand to the person with no experience in American immigration or politics, which is why undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally are encouraged to contact a credentialed immigration attorney for advice on how to legally become a U.S. resident. The attorney will be able to keep the immigrant up to date on the climate of immigration politics and new developments in immigration policy that could affect the immigrant’s case.

Contrary to popular belief, contacting an attorney for legal advice will not result in deportation, no matter the immigrant’s legal status. If the immigrant is worried about contacting an immigration attorney in person for advice, he or she is advised to contact an attorney by phone or email. This will at least give the immigrant a better understanding of the challenges that he or she may face on the path to legal residency or citizenship. In most cases, an initial consultation is free.