Biden: Time for 'Unfettered Path' to Citizenship

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Immigration Bill

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden told a predominantly Latino crowd that now is the time for a “fair, and firm and unfettered path for 11 million people” to become citizens. Biden was addressing the national convention for the League of United Latin American Citizens in Las Vegas. His remarks came as negotiators finalized a deal to move immigration legalization through the Senate. 

The "Gang of 8" Senate bill legalizes the 11-12 million illegal immigrants in the country six months after becoming law. It establishes separate tracks for the newly legalized immigrants to become citizens. The fastest track would provide citizenship in five years. These paths to citizenship would continue, even if the current or a future Administration fails to secure the border or enforce immigration law. 

In other words, the Senate bill establishes an "unfettered" path to citizenship. There are certain requirements the recently illegal immigrants have to meet, but each of these can be waived by the Administration. Even a convicted member of a criminal gang can stay on the path to citizenship, as long as they promise no longer to be a member of a gang. 

Republicans in the Senate are currently negotiating to back-fill more border security into the Senate legislation. The agreement will likely provide a lot more funding for the border, including a doubling of the number of agents. The deal will check a lot of boxes, but with no assurances that the measures will be taken or be successful. 

Like the immigration deal in 1986, the Senate bill provides certain legalization with a promise of future security and enforcement. In the Senate, it is indeed the time for Biden's "unfettered path" to citizenship.  


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