Comprehensive Immigration Reform Gets Strong Think-Tank Support

Comprehensive Immigration Reform issues seem to be back on the front burner, at least for now. While a potential House approach on legalization would allow fewer unauthorized immigrants to gain lawful permanent residence than Senate bill S. 744, it could form the basis for an agreement on immigration reform, according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), an Arlington, Va.-based policy research group.

The report, “A Path to an Agreement?: Analyzing House and Senate Plans for Legalizing the Unauthorized Immigrant Population,” is available at

A potential House approach is likely to result in green cards going primarily to those unauthorized immigrants with the strongest connection to the United States and least likely to leave voluntarily – unauthorized immigrants who came here as children and adults with U.S.-born children or U.S. citizen spouses, the study finds.

“Legalization of the unauthorized immigrant population can be a key element in a political compromise to fix major flaws in America’s immigration system,” said the report’s author. “Without legalization, it is unlikely the United States will see any major changes in immigration law on low skill or high skill visas and green cards, or enforcement measures sought by many members of Congress.”

The study focuses on legalization that permits individuals to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders). Sometimes called a “path to citizenship,” in reality, the issue is whether unauthorized immigrants will be granted the ability to achieve lawful permanent residence, also known as a “green card.” That status would allow individuals to stay in the United States permanently (barring committing certain criminal offenses) and, typically after 5 years (if they choose) to apply for citizenship (and receive it if they meet the standards).

One cannot be sure what any limitations would look like in a House bill without legislative language, which means the estimates noted above should be understood with that caveat. Moreover, these numbers do not include potentially 2 to 5 million people who, if they came forward and did not have disqualifying criminal convictions, could be allowed to stay in the United States in lawful status, theoretically for the rest of their lives, but without obtaining a green card because they did not fit into a legal immigration category.

The Immigration Lawyers and Attorneys at the NPZ Law Group continue to monitor the prospects for CIR. For more information about Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) or the way that CIR may impact you or your friends or family, please feel free to contact us at or you can call us at 201-670-0006 (x107).