Last month, I promised an explanation of the many different, and often confusing, parts of comprehensive immigration reform that will hopefully be coming up in Congress this year (and maybe even this month!). After a Pesach hiatus, it seemed like the time has come to delve into a new key aspect of immigration reform that has been getting a lot of media attention: a path to citizenship. The term “path to citizenship” refers to a channel through which immigrants who are currently undocumented can not simply become legalized, but can be entered into a process that ultimately results in full citizenship.
There have been many different proposals for the final bill. In President Obama’s immigration plan, a full path to citizenship – that requires immigrants to pass national security and criminal background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English – is one of the most core tenets of full reform. The Senate’s “Gang of 8” team echoed this sentiment in their own proposal, though with a slight tweak: they make a path to citizenship contingent upon securing our border and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required. Finally, while the House of Representatives has yet to release a framework or bill, there are speculations that House legislation would include three separate paths to citizenship depending on how and when immigrants entered the country.
The RAC, like many immigration advocates across D.C., believes that a path to citizenship is a crucial element of immigration reform. We must not settle for a system that creates a second class of citizens, many of whom are vital and productive members of our economies and communities.
That is why we will be attending – and RAC Director Rabbi David Saperstein will be speaking at – a rally next week called Citizenship Now. Join us on April 10 at this important event – and, if you’re around, the night before from 6 PM-8 PM at the RAC (2027 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC) with other members of the Jewish community to learn about immigration reform and to prepare for the rally!