A Modest Proposal: Legalize Millions of Undocumented Immigrants with the Change of a Single Statutory Date
28 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2015
Nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants currently live in the United States. Seemingly not a day goes by where the press does not cover immigration and immigrant issues. These articles discuss everything from the day-to-day experiences of undocumented immigrants in Alabama or Arizona, to the macro-political implications of Congress passing, or failing to pass, comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Yet, despite the press coverage, the on the ground realities, and the political ramifications, Congress has been unable to reform our broken immigration system. One reason posited for this failure is that the proposed solutions are simply too complicated. However, with respect to addressing the U.S.’s undocumented immigrant population, the solution need not be: Congress may amend a single date in the registry statute under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 249, 8 U.S.C. § 1259, last altered during the Reagan Administration. By amending a single date, Congress could provide a path to legalization and citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the communities where they live and work.
Keywords: Immigration Law, Registry, Immigration Reform, INA 249, Legalization, Path to Citizenship.
JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation