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Majority of Americans Still Support Path To Citizenship

| Aug 26, 2015 | New Immigration Laws |

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Despite the Donald Trump rhetoric and shrill Republican backlash against President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration, results from numerous polls conducted over the past few years continue to reveal public support for immigration. If anything, this should encourage the undocumented population not to abandon hopes of immigration reform. Here’s a few statistics that are worth noting:

The New York Times reports that six out of ten Americans believe immigrants “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.” A White House report, examining the economic benefits of earned citizenship, estimates that over a ten-year period, granting permanent residency or citizenship to current immigrants would:

  • Improve the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $1.4 trillion
  • Increase total income for Americans by $791 billion
  • Produce $184 billion in revenue from naturalization fees
  • Add an estimated 2 million jobs to the US economy

Additionally, the number of Americans who believe in strengthening border patrols and increasing arrests and deportation as a solution to illegal immigration has fallen from 36% in 2011 to 29% in 2013. Simultaneously, the percentage of immigration reform supporters has risen as those polled indicate a greater understanding that the path to citizenship will be accompanied by strict requirements. In fact, a survey conducted earlier this year asked a group of 50,000 Americans their opinion on how to deal with illegal immigrants currently living in the US. The respondents were given three choices: citizenship, permanent residency, or deportation. Of the 50,000 people polled, 77% chose either permanent residency or citizenship.

Options While We Wait For Reform

No matter who becomes President, Congress will still need – at some point – to heed the will of the American public and the business sector, and institute reform. The order in which things are addressed may not necessarily be ideal – i.e., border security, enforcement, and then a provisional program-but it is not unrealistic to envision some changes in the future (however far-sighted that may be). In the meantime, it still bears worth noting that for some people, there are still programs and procedures worth exploring. Consider the following:

  • While DAPA and expanded DACA are still on hold pursuant to an injunction, this does not mean that the original DACA has been abolished. Those who qualify under the original guidelines can still apply for two-year protection from removal and work authorization.
  • Those who already have DACA and whose protection is due to expire may still apply to renew their DACA status (provided there are no change in circumstances that would disqualify them, ie., criminal conviction, etc.)
  • The Provisional Waiver (I-601A) is still an option for some people. For some, especially those that entered without inspection and are not grandfathered under 245i, it may be a viable way to fix one’s status and obtain permanent residency.
  • Additionally, as we have discussed earlier, changes are hopefully on the way for the provisional waiver program. Under the proposed changes, the classes of people who may apply for the waiver, as well as the class of people who qualify as “qualifying relatives,” will be broadened.

Lee & Garasia, LLC – New Jersey Immigration Lawyers

Immigration law is a complex system that requires detailed examination of each unique circumstance. Because the process of pursuing citizenship can be overwhelming and confusing, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney who specializes in the field of immigration. At Lee & Garasia, we are fully focused on immigration matters ranging from citizenship and family petitions to deportation/removal. To stay abreast of immigration issues, we invite you to contact us or follow our blog. For more information or to schedule your consultation, contact us today.

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