Denis Naughten TD has welcomed the publication of a bipartisan plan by US Senators to provide a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the undocumented Irish in the United States.
Any person who was resident in the United States before 31st December 2011 and who has remained there since that date will be eligible to apply for a six year temporary residency status, which would allow them to legally enter and leave the US.
In order to be eligible they must not have a criminal record and must pay a penalty of $500 along with all outstanding taxes.
“What makes this law unique is the fact that the group proposing its passage through the US Senate and Congress is made up of both conservatives and liberals, who have drafted a Bill which balances the need for US border security with the need to set down a clear path to citizenship for those who are presently working undocumented in the United States,” stated Denis Naughten.
“It is expected that the new law will be passed by the US authorities this year, but this will be a heated debate that will face a serious challenge passing through the Republican controlled House of Representatives. It would come into force following the commencement of a border security strategy which is primarily focused on the US border with Mexico.
“This announcement of the plan – which has been publically backed by President Obama – by a committed grouping of both Republican and Democratic Senators is a significant step forward and, while not dealing with every single aspect, is the best possible package available to the some 50,000 undocumented Irish workers and their families in the US.
“In tandem with this the Irish Government must now redouble its efforts to secure a working visa for people resident in Ireland, who are seeking to work legally in the United States. This is imperative to ensure that the issue of the undocumented Irish is addressed in a comprehensive manner once and for all” concluded Denis Naughten.
The bill is titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” After the introduction of a new border control strategy those who are undocumented in the US can apply for “registered provisional immigrant status”. After 10 years, those granted that status can apply for green cards granting them permanent residency & also the ability to apply for US citizenship.
The legislation can be read here
A one page summary of the bill is available here
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document is available here