Congress is considering an immigration reform measure that would offer temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who apply for it, pass a criminal background check, pay fees and fines of more than $2,000, pay back taxes and learn English. Those eligible immigrants would then be able to pursue a green card, and then gain full citizenship once certain border-security measures are met along the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Barack Obama's plan contains a more direct path to citizenship than the house and senate plans. It not specifically tied to border security, but a path to citizenship is the central provision of all immigration reform plans being considered by Congress. While some say a path to citizenship would violate the rule of law and encourage others to immigrate illegally, others say it is the next reasonable step for the country.
"[They] are part of the U.S. economy. We cannot send them all home, and we cannot send them all to jail, so we have to address it... I don't think we want America to be a place where we have two kinds of people. We always make comments of other countries that have workers come in and they are in a different category no matter how long they've lived in the country and no matter how much they contribute to the economic success of that country.”
"… If we want to create an immigration policy that's going to work, we can't continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration. I think it is important that there is a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place, I think, to be in that sense. Not to take away people's rights. … Half the people in '86 that could have gotten amnesty didn't apply. Many people don't want to be citizens of our country. …I think there has to be some difference between people who come here legally and illegally. It is just a matter of common sense and a matter of the rule of law. If we're not going to apply the law fairly and consistently, we're going to have another wave of illegal immigrants coming into the country."