Bloggings on Immigration Law and Policy

by Greg Siskind

NYT: House Looking at Three Paths to Legal Status

Here's a rundown from Ashley Parker at the NY Times:

In contrast to the Senate plan — which would provide one clear, if difficult, path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country — the House legislation will most likely offer three distinct paths to legal status.

Young immigrants in the country without legal papers, who often call themselves “Dreamers,” and low-skilled agricultural workers would qualify for an expedited road to legal status, people familiar with the negotiations said. The Dreamers should not be punished for being brought illegally to the country by their parents, House aides said, and the members agreed that the agricultural workers perform crucial work for the economy.


The second group to receive a path to legal permanent residence would be immigrants who have either a family or an employment relationship that would allow them to apply for legal status, except that they have already entered the country illegally. Currently, most of those immigrants would have to return to their home country for either 3 or 10 years before they would be eligible to reapply.

The House bill would most likely relax or waive those barriers. Immigrants would then have to return to their home country to apply for legal status, aides said, but could do so only after completing a series of hurdles including paying fines and back taxes and learning English, aides said.

The remaining illegal immigrants could apply for “provisional legal status” if they came forward and admitted breaking the law, paid fines and back taxes, and learned English, much as they could under the Senate plan, aides said. This status would allow them to live, work and travel in the country legally, and they could then apply through regular channels for a green card after 10 years and citizenship 5 years after that.

Several House Republicans have been hinting that the second path - using conventional green card paths - would be given favor over one that was easier to qualify for. I've also commented that I think this makes sense as long as enough green cards are made available in those categories and the bars are not a barrier and as long as everyone eventually had a shot. This plan might meet those tests.


Immigration Humor: Jay Leno Pokes Fun at AP's Terminology Announcement

My friend Tom Roach sent me this funny clip.

About The Author Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.