“Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is planning to release legislation next week that would provide legal status for six years to undocumented immigrants in the United States, he said in an interview Wednesday.”
Issa, an influential Republican who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, described the legislation as a “come-from-the-shadows” effort that would allow the government to do a full accounting of those who are in the U.S. illegally.
Rep. Issa’s bill is notable because it’s poised to be the first broad legalization bill put forth by House Republicans.
But the proposal could present several problems. It’s not clear whether the legislation guarantees permanent legal status after the six-year period is up. What will happen to undocumented immigrants then? If there is uncertainty surrounding permanent status, many immigrants without papers may be reluctant to register with the federal government.
Using so-called “existing pathways” to offer legal status could cause the visa backlog to worsen, since there aren’t nearly enough slots to accommodate millions more people. And it’s unclear whether immigrants who become eligible for permanent residence would be subject to re-entry bars, which require people to leave the U.S. for up to 10 years if they have lived in the country illegally for over one year.