Senator Charles Grassley filed an amendment that would require the US Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the borders of the county have been secured, six months prior to granting the undocumented immigrants permission to apply for legal status in the United States. This amendment would delay the unauthorized residents’ path to citizenship and this amendment was voted down in the Senate. According to the opponents of this amendment, border security measures proposed in this amendment are too difficult to achieve and this amendment would delay the path to US citizenship for the undocumented immigrants. The path to citizenship the Senate bill would create would be an arduous one and it would not be that easy for the undocumented immigrants to obtain US citizenship. They need to wait for 13 years to become US citizens and this path to citizenship is the centerpiece of the immigration reform bill of the Gang of Eight.
To become US citizens, unauthorized residents in America must first apply for and obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. Followed by that, they could apply for permanent resident status but not immediately after becoming Registered Provisional Immigrants and the wait time for them to become Green Card holders would be ten years. To apply for this temporary Registered Provisional Immigrant status, an undocumented immigrant must prove by submitting documentary evidence that he entered the United States before 1st January, 2012. Immigrants to apply for this status must pay a $500 penalty and the form filing fees.
Likewise, to qualify, undocumented immigrants must have clean criminal records and they must not have been convicted of aggravated felonies or misdemeanors. If they continue to be law abiding individuals, they can apply for permanent resident status after ten years. Nevertheless, RPI status is temporary and Registered Provisional Immigrants would be deported if they violate the country’s immigration laws. If they are eligible for permanent resident status in America, they could obtain Green Cards after ten years. But the DREAMers could get Green Cards after five years and immediately after obtaining Green Cards, DREAMers can apply for US citizenship. This Senate immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to US citizenship will be sent to the House only of it gets 60 votes and pass in the Senate.
More on Immigration Reform:
- History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
- Provisions for Children in the Immigration Reform Bill
- Senate Immigration Bill Would Put an End to Unauthorized Immigration
- What is Registered Provisional Immigrant Status?