Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants should be enacted by the Congress.

One of the most urgent problems in the modern social, economic, and political landscape is the situation of undocumented immigrants. Many Americans have been thinking about the rhetoric regarding the influx of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Final screening and the construction of a border wall may reduce the number of undocumented immigrants entering the country, but they do not address how to deal with the unlawful immigrants who are already present in the country and are working and residing there. Currently, several immigration bills are pending in the Senate and Congress for immigration reform. The contemporary immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship would permit illegal aliens to work and live in the United States, and turning to legal status when their procedure for permanent residency is in the process. This legal memorandum also grants administrative relief ways to minimize the threat of deportation for some persons in the United States without permission, foster economic growth, enhance family unity, and promote significant process improvements. The memorandum entails recommendations concerning required resources and implementation timeframes.


The comprehensive immigration reform is meant to legalize the undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States legally but would not be permitted to receive equal rights as the US citizens or become citizens. Granting legal status to undocumented immigrants will favor them in three ways. First, the undocumented immigrants would no longer be deported only because they are in the country unlawfully, as long as they abide by the law in other ways. Second, these immigrants would be allowed to work freely in the country. Third, undocumented immigrants would enjoy the ability to travel in and out of the country. Approximately 60 percent of illegal immigrants have been in the US for more than a decade and are unable to go back to their countries for some reasons (Dorsey, Margaret, and Miguel 90).

A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would mean that they would be eligible for various government benefits such as social security and employment insurance. These illegal immigrants would also be eligible to vote and other special immigration privileges such as, if they are involved in any form of crime they cannot be deported, and they can bring their family in the country.

A citizenpath is an online resource for immigration that provides a simple step-by-step guidance through petitions and USCIS applications. Citizenpath also provides support during the application of citizenship by immigrants. USCIS can extend protections and benefits to several people and groups by adopting important process improvements, issuing Notices to Appear (NTA), exercising differed action and discretion, and giving new regulations and guidance. Immigration organizations and advocates have been pushing hard for the enactment of the comprehensive immigration reforms that will provide relief to undocumented immigrants who are willing to stay and contribute positively to the economy of the United States (Garfia 1).

In promoting family unity, USCIS needs to interpret two 1990 General Counsel Opinion concerning the possibility of the applicants of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who accessed the United States without authorization to change status. Adjusting the status would enable many people in Temporary Protected Status to be legal permanent residents. Moreover, under section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Nationality and Immigration Act, the TPS applicants are deemed inadmissible for entering the country without inspection. The USCIS should grant “parole-in-place” (PIP) to exercise discretion to form a basis for change in the United States (Motomura 103).

USCIS should collaborate with the Department of Commerce (DOC) to promote economic growth through complementing vital economic programs and initiatives like the “invest in America” program. USCIS and DOC should establish a working group to consider more creative ways in making economic markets more accessible to foreign investors. However, for U.S employees who are obliged by their occupation to seek permanent residence or require frequent travel, the USCIS should also develop the issued by INS. USCIS should also consider extending the employment permission to the spouses of some skilled employees. The USCIS also needs to grant deferred action in situations where relief is not available basing on the employment of an applicant. This would allow people who may have relief in future to work and live in the United States of America without the fear of being deported. The best solution to this matter is for the USCIS to provide Notice to Appear (NTA) strategically and not everywhere. Conversely, where relief does not exist in deportation for an applicant without any criminal history or negative immigration case, USCIS should avoid spending its resources to issue a Notice to Appear. Furthermore, USCIS can issue a regulation or guidance lessening the standard for a person who has applied for relief either abroad or locally, whose application need a waiver of inadmissibility. This will encourage more spouses and family of U.S permanent residents and citizens to seek relief without fear of being removed.


Various options can be used to compel for a legislative action by the Congress to enact the immigration reform of undocumented immigrants. These options require the development of coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS, implementation of protocols, and a specific regulatory language. On the other hand, Congress may consider a variety of options in the immigration reforms. Congress may allocate 50 percent of the annual amount of green cards issued where priority is given to skills where demand is overgrowing relative to supply. The entry criteria for Green Card can also be adjusted periodically to match labor-market conditions. This reform would have positive impacts on the economy (Motomura 103). Many Americans know that individuals who overstayed their visas or entered the country illegally to have committed a serious crime and therefore, amnesty seem inappropriate since it will encourage illegal immigration. However, the best alternative other than deportation is to impose fines on the undocumented immigrants. Congress can also create a “Z” visa for the undocumented immigrants who demonstrate having stayed in the United States five years or more without any criminal record. Z visa would allow them, their children and spouses to stay as long as they pay the annual visa fee (Dorsey, Margaret, and Miguel 94).


The issue of whether the United States should provide a path of legalization for the undocumented immigrant has been a great debate in the American politics. The Immigration and Nationality Act defines illegal immigrants as people who are not citizens of the United States. These are foreign nationals who enter the United States without adhering to the legal immigration process and remain in the country. People immigrate for various reasons including seeking a higher quality of life and better opportunities in a new country. Illegal immigrants are individuals without proper legal documentation to be in a certain country. These are people who cannot receive social security benefits as well as other social services funded by the federal government, and also they cannot vote (Legomsky 469).

“The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986” provided amnesty to all unlawful immigrants in the United States and sanctioned all employers who hire illegal immigrants. Numerous laws were introduced to help curb the increasing number of illegal immigrants, but they were ineffective. A path toward becoming a legal citizen in the United States is referred to us naturalization. "The US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (BCIS)" is an institution that oversees the process of naturalization. The pathway to lawful status for the undocumented immigrants includes the green card, dreamers, asylum, and U Visas (Zimmerman 15).

The Green Card

The initial path of becoming a lawful citizen is to acquire a Green Card by marrying a legal permanent resident or a US citizen. However, according to Citizenpath, if the children or foreign spouse entered the United States without permission they must finish their immigration procedure through United States consulates to be granted the Green Card or leave the country. Moreover, the Citizenpath states that if an immigrating child over 18 years of age or spouse lived in the United States unlawfully for six months or a year, they would be automatically prohibited from re-entry to the country for 3-10 years once they leave. However, these immigrants can seek a waiver if they can prove unusual and extreme hardship (Jennifer 1).


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was established in 2012 to protect unlawful immigrants who enter the United States as children. Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) is an Act that was passed in 2001 to provide a permanent resident status after completing at least two years of service in military or college. Furthermore, the American Immigration Council claim that the bipartisan support for the DREAM Act no longer exist as the country is currently gripped by political polarization. Numerous proposals have been issued to restrict permanent residency to various groups of minors (Olivas 1757).


The Citizenpath states that asylum should be offered to unlawful immigrants who moved to the United States because of persecution in their native country. The persecution cases should be based on various groups such as political opinion, membership in a certain social group, nationality, religion, and race. Moreover, the requirements for eligibility according to the Citizenpath include the presence in the United States, fear or unable to return to home country, and one who is not involved in any activity barring them from the asylum (Jennifer 1).

U Visas

The U Visas are also known as a non-immigrant visa that is often reserved for the victims of crime who aided in law enforcement. Citizenpath holds that the holders of U Visa are entitled to legal status in the United States to receive path to citizenship and employment authorization. The US Congress created the U Visa in October 2000. For an illegal immigrant to qualify, he or she must have suffered significant mental or physical abuse. The victim may also have information about criminal activity, must have been assisting in the investigation, and the crime must have violated the laws of the United States (Zimmerman 17).

Protecting some People or Groups from the Threat of Removal

Increasing Deferred Action

USCIS should increase deferred action for people already allowed to the U.S. deferred action refers to the prosecutorial discretion to hinder the pursuance of removal from the U.S of a specific person in a particular period. Granting deferred action does not imply any waivers of inadmissibility or confer any immigration status that may exist. Moreover, deferred action cannot be applied in establishing the eligibility for immigration benefits requiring maintenance of lawful status. However, periods of deferred action qualify as periods of stay permitted by the Department of Homeland Security for the reasons in section 212(a)(9)(B) and (C) in the Act which can be extended. Persons granted with deferred action can apply for employment permission. Institutions such as Customs and Border Protection, Customs Enforcement and Immigration, USCIS, and DHS have the authority to grant deferred action (Dorsey, Margaret, and Miguel 99).

In the past, USCIS authorized the use of deferred action to provide relief to non-immigrants who failed uphold legal immigrant status or whose period of admission had expired. For instance, USCIS implemented a policy of deferred action after the Hurricane of Katrina for non-immigrants caused by this natural disaster. Moreover, USCIS also grants deferred action to specific groups such as the applicants for interim relief associated with the U visa program. In theory, it is possible to grant deferred action to an unlimited number of illegally present individuals, but it would be expensive and controversial (Olivas 1757).

Issuing Notice to Appear strategically to enhance DHS Priorities

USCIS is required to issue NTAs for denied incidents as prescribed by regulation under Policy Memorandum. The issuance of NTAs includes after termination of an immigrant’s refugee status and application for Family Unity Benefits. The USCIS has the mandate on whether to issue NTA or not. In practice, USCIS usually issues NTAs to any denial decisions without considering the impact on the applicant. Therefore, USCIS should issue Notice to Appear (NTA) strategically to avoiding consuming its limited resources (Abrego 353).

Achieving Process Improvements

Extending the Availability of Premium Processing Services

Premium processing service can be defined as the optional premium service offered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to workers who fill form 1-129. Premium processing services should be expanded to cover additional employment-based classifications. These services should be able to extend or change non-immigrant status and advance parole. Premium processing services help in the processing of some employment-based applications and petitions. The existing procedures permit expedited processing basing on various criteria such as the humanitarian situation, and extreme emergent situation. Other benefits of expanding the premium processing services include enhancing productivity and profitability to employers who fill vacancies expeditiously (Olivas 410).

Internal Policy Enhancement and Review

Currently, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers policy guidance as training materials, manuals, standard operating procedures, and memoranda. Inappropriate application and interpretation of guidance and lack of a reference point for stakeholders usually lead to lack of transparency. The national and local policy guidance in USCIS is divided into multiple sources including the i-link reference disk, training materials, and the USCIS intranet. This introduces a huge burden for USCIS workers and the public attempting to access significant information. Addressing such issues, the USCIS prioritizes a review of all policy documents to promote the consistency of the guidance in the agency. A comprehensive review will evaluate existing policies in the agency. After the reviewing and revising, the policy guidance will be posted on an accessible web-based repository (Abrego 361).

Fostering Economic Growth

Partnering with DOC to Administer Immigrant Investor Program

The immigrant investor program permits some unlawful immigrants who have investments in U.S and who have created employment to acquire a lawful status. The immigrant investor program has been under-utilized due to several factors leading to limited job creation. The USCIS advocates for the immigrant investor program as a crucial tool in helping the economy of the United States. Thus, the DOC and USCIS to work together and promote the immigrant investor program (Olivas 407).

Expansion of Dual Intent Doctrine

Many of the non-immigrants who seek for adjustment of status are usually intending immigrants who are not eligible to uphold non-immigrant status. The Acts section 214(h) allows temporary workers in some occupations with their children and spouses to maintain their non-immigrant status even if their adjustment application is pending. USCIS should extend the dual intent concept to cover even the long-term non-immigrants. The long-term non-immigrants usually make short travels overseas. Thus, these non-immigrants would travel overseas and maintain a valid non-immigrant status under the dual intent doctrine, when their adjustment applications are pending (Dorsey, Margaret, and Miguel 102).

Extending Employment Authorization to Spouses and Children to the Lawful Immigrants

The Leaders of USCIS have already approved this issue, and it is pending to be recommended in identifying administrative relief options. They should issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by granting employment authorization to spouses and children of the noon-immigrants up to one year, in case of some compelling circumstances justifying the issue of employment authorization. Furthermore, the temporary employment authorization may also be issued to some non-immigrants who face constant expanding backlogs for immigrant visas and who are beneficiaries of employment-based immigrant visas. This measure will address some difficult situations like the ones that forced people on the path to legal permanent residence (Garfia 1).


Many people enter the United States to seek freedom, and most employees are in the country illegally fleeing persecution and other unfavorable conditions. These illegal immigrants are like the American ancestors who migrated to America for the idea of social mobility. Instead of denying them the dream of social mobility that the United States is founded on, the government should work with them and make their dream a reality. It is extremely difficult for many people to have the luxury of entering the country and that is why they choose to enter through illegal means. Several bills have been presented before the Congress to solve this issue, but it is clear that the solution will not be found soon. The legalization of illegal immigrants has several strengths and limitations. Reforms on a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants will not be a guarantee to eradicate the tide of illegal migration. However, legalization would be viewed as a recognition that authorities are unable to prevent unlawful immigration and that several illegal immigrants work and live in the United States. These reforms seem to encourage more illegal immigrants and discourage immigrants who follow the legal immigration process. By enacting the comprehensive reforms will allow the undocumented immigrants to have the freedom they deserve to stay without the fear of deportation and to pursue their dreams.

Works Cited

Abrego, Leisy J. "Legal consciousness of undocumented Latinos: Fear and stigma as barriers to claims‐making for first‐and 1.5‐generation immigrants." Law & Society Review 45.2 (2011): 337-370.

Dorsey, Margaret E., and Miguel Díaz-Barriga. "Senator Barack Obama and immigration reform." Journal of Black Studies 38.1 (2007): 90-104.

Jennifer. “A Path to Legalization for Illegal Immigrants: Legalization for Illegal Immigrants.”ThoughtCo.

Garfia, Francisca. "The Creation of Criminality in DACA and DAPA Beneficiaries." Radicle: Reed Anthropology Review 2.1 (2017).

Legomsky, Stephen H. "The new path of immigration law: Asymmetric incorporation of criminal justice norms." Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 64 (2007): 469.

Motomura, Hiroshi. "We asked for workers, but families came: Time, law, and the family in immigration and citizenship." Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 14 (2006): 103.

Olivas, Michael A. "The political economy of the DREAM Act and the legislative process: A case study of comprehensive immigration reform." Wayne L. Rev. 55 (2009): 1757.

Olivas, Michael A. "Undocumented college students, taxation, and financial aid: A technical note." The Review of Higher Education 32.3 (2009): 407-416.

Zimmerman, Arely M. "A dream detained: Undocumented Latino youth and the DREAM movement." NACLA Report on the Americas 44.6 (2011): 14-17.

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