As the Gang of Eight in the U.S. Senate introduces an immigration reform bill, a group for immigrant rights is concerned that provisions are being left out. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is pleased that the immigration reform bill includes a path to citizenship for those who are currently living in the U.S. without permission, but they say much work must be done to be as inclusive of the 11 million undocumented immigrants as possible.
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One disagreement is a Dec. 31, 2011 cutoff date for eligibility for citizenship. The coalition contends that date will leave hundreds of thousands out of the process and create the same problems lawmakers are trying to deal with now. The coalition also believes the 13-year length of the path to citizenship is too long.
ICIRR is also concerned with changes within the bill to family-based sponsorships. The bill essentially eliminates the ability of siblings to petition for and sponsor siblings living in other countries. It also eliminates the ability of adults to sponsor married sons and daughters.
“While it is clear there is much work to be done, now more than ever it is important to remember what immigration reform is really about - families,” said Lawrence Benito, chief executive of the coalition.
The bill is now up for discussion and debate, a process that will likely be lengthy. During that time ICIRR says it will continue to reach out to congressional leaders in hopes of addressing the bill’s shortfalls.