One of the weaknesses of the public conversation about immigration is that any proposal under which the final result for some undocumented immigrants is citizenship gets labeled “amnesty.” But in reality, most proposals put a ton of hurdles between such immigrants’ current status and that goal.
Take the bill that passed the Senate. Under that framework, undocumented immigrants have to register as “provisional immigrants,” pay a $500 fine and fees, and pass a background check. Then, six years later, they have to do it all again. Then, four years after that, they have to do all that plus another $500 in fines plus a language test plus be employed and paying taxes. Indeed, for that whole ten year period they have to be continuously employed (meaning never unemployed for longer than six months) and paying taxes — and they can’t get any public benefits, including Obamacare subsidies, to help them out along the way.
The graphic above from the Center for American Progress illustrates the point well. Click “Know More” to read Ana Garcia explain how the Senate bill and the various piecemeal bills proposed in the House compare.