Drastic immigration changes

We don’t necessarily like it, but we’ve all but resigned ourselves to the fact that the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States will soon have some sort of pathway to gain legal status.

A Senate bill that has gained bipartisan support would create a 13-year process for immigrants in the United States illegally before Dec. 30, 2011, to become U.S. citizens, which would include $2,000 in fines and some additional fees. The plan would create a “merit visa” to bring immigrants with talents to the United States, in addition to providing steps for low-skilled workers to gain citizenship, too.

Senators have agreed that the dramatic changes would happen only after numerous steps have been taken to make the nation’s borders more secure, including tougher requirements for businesses to check the legal status of workers, among other changes. But critics of the proposed changes say there are still too many obstacles in front of the millions of undocumented workers, and want the process to be streamlined so it doesn’t take nearly as many years to complete.

No one is likely to be completely happy with the end result of six months of negotiations. Conservatives don’t like the appearance of amnesty for those who broke the law by coming to this country illegally, and liberals don’t like the lengthy process required to become a citizen. But supposedly none of these processes begin until serious changes are made to secure the country’s borders, and that at least is a small victory for conservatives. We hope.