Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Legal status without a path to citizenship? It's not a new idea

In a piece in the Huffington Post today, La Opinión's Pilar Marrero gets at the roots of the limited-legality idea that forms part of a yet-to-be-introduced immigration reform proposal being floated by Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Billed as an alternative to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would grant conditional legal status and an eventual path to citizenship to qualifying undocumented young people who arrived as minors, the bill doesn't propose a clear path to citizenship.

The idea would be to discourage what some call "chain migration," naturalized citizens sponsoring relatives. This approach, embraced by some in the GOP, isn't a new one as Marrero explains. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has also talked about allowing some undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally but without citizenship, she writes, but "Rubio and Gingrich did not actually come up with this idea." From the piece:

The concept of keeping citizenship out of reach for legalized immigrants it's actually the brainchild of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) a research organization that is part of the same lobbying group that pushed the "attrition thru enforcement" concept and the legal push behind the local and state anti immigration laws such as SB1070, the Arizona Law, that will soon be argued in front of the Supreme Court. CIS, FAIR and the Immigration Reform Law Institute are all part of the same network of organizations in Washington that want to limit not illegal, but LEGAL immigration.

In March of last year, La Opinión published an interview with Mark Krikorian, CIS executive director, where he argued that Republicans could come up with a very limited Dream Act alternative that would give the youngsters a "permanent administrative visa", with all the rights of a legal resident without the ability to sponsor relatives. CIS had published a couple of papers by Stanley Renshon pushing that idea. CIS and FAIR have in mind a new immigration system where people can't sponsor certain relatives and where legal immigration would be reduced.

Read more at: