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House Republicans Propose a Path to Citizenship

US_Congress_02.jpgThe U.S. may move closer to immigration reform this week when House Republicans meet for a three-day GOP retreat to consider various matters including immigration. At the top of the list is an immigration proposal that would involve a narrow pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants who are currently in the U.S.

The House Republicans have proposed a path to citizenship that differs from the Senate’s plan in many ways. Most importantly, the House Republicans are likely to require that immigrants gain legal status and apply for citizenship through the existing legal framework. This would be a lengthy process considering that backlog in immigration cases is high and continues to rise. However, previous House proposals have never addressed a path to citizenship, so this a step in the right direction.

In addition, the House Republicans are thinking about removing an existing condition that requires most illegal immigrants to go back to their native country for as many as ten years before receiving legal status to enter the United States. Other immigration topics that will be discussed include border security and visas for foreign workers. Although viable immigration reform requires more work and cooperation between the House and the Senate, it is encouraging to see the House finally addressing a path towards citizenship.