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Immigration reform plan includes path to U.S. citizenship

In Miami, as well as in other cities and communities, there are many families anxiously waiting for U.S. immigration law changes that will allow members who are here without papers to become citizens. In immigration rallies and marches taking place across the nation, children and spouses have expressed concern that their loved ones could be picked up and sent back to their home country.

A group of senators, including Florida's Marco Rubio, must now convince the rest of the U.S. senate that their proposed bill should be approved. The bill increases border security, proposes a new system that verifies the legal status of workers, and provides a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants currently living here without legal status or papers.

According to the information revealed about the bill, immigrants brought over before the age of 16 would be able to apply for citizenship after five years. In order to qualify, they have to show that they have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, have graduated from high school, and have two years of college or military service. Adult immigrants would be able to obtain a green card and then citizenship in 13 years as long as they are employed, have no criminal history, and pay the appropriate fines.

While this is a significant step forward in the reform process, it will be up to the members of Congress to decide if such a plan is approved. Each senator and congressman/woman should carefully evaluate the benefits that the plan provides and remember that their vote affects the future of millions and their families.

Source: CBS Miami, "Gang Of Eight Unveils Immigration Reform Details," Tim Kephart, April 17, 2013

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