Immigration policy is certainly a hot topic with U.S. lawmakers. With some pushing for border protection and deportation, others are looking for ways to provide the over 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country a pathway to citizenship. While overwhelming immigration reform has not been reached, smaller steps are being proposed to assist those in this situation, which could positively affect many California residents.
With a defense budget bill currently being discussed, several senators would like to see amendments added that would provide legal status for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors. Called the ENLIST Act, this would provide legal status to be granted for these immigrants who have grown up and call America home. This would, in turn, allow them to serve in the military.
A recent bill to come forward from California Representative Jeff Denham goes even further, asking that those willing to serve in the military be granted a pathway to citizenship, not just legal status. While there are several who oppose both of these measures, hope is not lost yet. Those in favor of the amendments are working to drum up support.
The pathway to citizenship isn’t easy, for immigrants in California or nationwide; while there may be stumbling blocks along the way, achieving citizenship can be a reality. For immigrants who were brought here illegally as young children, the ability to serve the country they love in the military and truly be called Americans is a strong desire. Even if these amendments fail to be added to the latest defense bill, there may be other legal pathways available that would allow them to pursue their dreams.
Source: Fox News Latino, “Debate On Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Who Serve In Military Heats Up”, Elizabeth Llorente, May 19, 2014