A few days back I noted that Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Chairman, hinted that he might support a conventional path to citizenship rather than a special path for the millions of people who would legalize under comprehensive immigration reform. He got more specific yesterday. What's the difference? In short, to qualify for a green card, legalized individuals would need to apply under existing green card categories like those available to close relatives of US citizens and individuals working in jobs employers cannot find Americans to do. A special path would allow legalized individuals to apply simply by waiting until a certain period of time has passed or enforcement benchmarks are met.
I personally prefer the conventional path approach as it makes clear that those who have been waiting it out get the highest priority and we also first reward individuals who meet American priorities like family reunification and filling unmet labor needs. The approach would require a massive expansion of green card numbers or people could face 50 year waits given how miniscule the current quota system is compared to the population we're talking about. But if we did expand overall numbers, using the conventional approach, legalized individuals would still need to get to the back of the line.
There might still be a way after a long period of time has passed for individuals who can't qualify in the conventional categories to still secure a green card. But I think the Goodlatte approach is worth further discussing as the potential basis for a plan..
Hat tip to reader George Chell for the link.