While occupying a prominent place in national news, real movement on immigration reform in Congress has been sparse. The DREAM Act has languished now in legislative limbo for years, and further efforts at comprehensive immigration reform providing a path to citizenship for certain undocumented aliens have seemingly been dead on arrival. However, recent statements by Republican leadership in the House indicated that progress may be possible.
In January 2014, House Speaker John Boehner suggested that the Republican majority may be willing to embrace immigration reform that would allow approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States to obtain legal status and work authorization. The Republicans indicated a willingness to concede legalization and an eventual path to citizenship for individuals who entered the country as children and have continued to live and work here since — often called Dreamers after the unsuccessful DREAM Act that would have granted them legal status. The Republicans would also support legalization, although not citizenship, for older illegal immigrants, provided they fulfill certain requirements:
- They must pay taxes.
- They must admit to having violated U.S. immigration laws.
- They must learn English.
Whether these concessions ultimately lead to comprehensive immigration reform remains to be seen. However, it is the brightest ray of light we have seen for some time in the area of much-needed immigration reform.
In the meantime, individuals who are in the country illegally must continue to avail themselves of the limited options available, including deferred action, asylum and other special programs. A knowledgeableLargo immigration attorney can help you understand what options may be available under your particular set of circumstances.