Gang of Eight loopholes put many illegal immigrants on fast track to citizenship
April 25, 2013
Members of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight have stressed that under their new immigration plan, currently illegal immigrants will have to wait more than a decade before achieving citizenship. Newly-legalized immigrants will be given a provisional status and “will have to stay in that status until at least ten years elapse and [border security] triggers are met,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News on April 14. “Then the only thing they get is a chance to apply for a green card via the legal immigration system.” The green card process would take additional years, meaning the road to full citizenship could take as long as 15, or even 18, years.
Unless it doesn’t. A little-noticed exception in the Gang of Eight bill provides a fast track for many — possibly very many — currently illegal immigrants. Under a special provision for immigrants who have labored at least part-time in agriculture, that fast track could mean permanent residency in the U.S., and then citizenship, in half the time Rubio said. And not just for the immigrants themselves — their spouses and children, too.