A long and earned path to citizenship

One of the mistaken sentiments expressed by opponents of updating our immigration laws is that creating a clear process for citizenship somehow moves undocumented immigrants “to the front of the line” ahead of people who already have taken steps in the citizenship process.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Immigrants currently stuck in backlogs would be processed first, and the new process created for undocumented members of our communities is a long one.

As this graphic from the Center For American Progress shows, the path to citizenship is a long, 13-year process that costs thousands of dollars.

immigration hurdles graphicAnother thing to remember is that until we update our laws, for most undocumented Americans, there literally is no line to get into under our current system.  Unless you already have family members who are legal U.S. residents or you qualify for a high-skilled business visa, you essentially have no way to apply for immigration papers at this time.

What supporters of new immigration laws have long been pointing out is that creating a path to citizenship finally lays out a legal process to follow.  If there’s a workable way to follow the law, then there’s less chance of breaking the law.

The process created by the Senate’s immigration bill – S. 744 – which passed in June, finally lays out a path to citizenship for people living in this country, raising families, and contributing to our communities.

More than 60 percent of Americans believe the U.S. needs a path to citizenship to keep families united, grow our economy, and preserve our future.  Don’t let anyone tell you the path created by the Senate bill is easy.


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