While politicians tout immigration reform as a "pathway to citizenship," immigrants may have other more pressing concerns upon their minds. Surveys conducted by Pew Research Center of Hispanics and Asian-Americans seem to indicate that concerns over deportation may be more vital.
There have been a record number of deportations over the past five years. Since 2009, there have been approximately 400,000 deportations each year. It appears particularly concerning when these deportations result in families being split-up.
The proposed bill in the U.S. Senate would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. However, even this particular bill has stalled in the House. The two major parties in Congress have differing views as to how immigration reform should be implemented. Also, some politicians are opposed to any bill that would provide any path to citizenship for immigrants that are not documented.
Unfortunately, many immigrants cannot wait for federal politicians to come to an agreement upon immigration issues. Instead, these immigrants may need to rely upon options for permanent residency that are already in place. This can include obtaining labor certification, looking at employment-based immigration processes, looking at the attributes of the individual hoping to achieve residency, seeing if waiver requirements under federal law can be met, or looking towards the granting of immigrant visas.
As there are complexities to all of these steps, any immigrant in Louisiana or other location in the U.S. seeking such residency may need to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to find out what option would be right for them. These attorneys can also walk immigrants through these processes to make certain that mistakes are not made that could lead to denials.
Source: CBS News, "Poll: Immigrants prize deportation relief over citizenship," Jake Miller, Dec. 19, 2013