OPINION: My Path to Legal Status for Illegal Immigrants Is Strict, But Fair

We are in the middle of our “One California” tour SundheimforSenate.com\tour, #DufTour on Twitter. This 6-week tour will take us from the California-Oregon border to the California-Mexico border.

We have had as many as 18 events in three days. At several events I have been asked whether I support a pathway to legal status for those who are in the country illegally.

After 32 years of marriage I am beginning to learn it is not what I say that counts, but what my wife hears. And even though I believe I have delivered a consistent message on this issue, some apparently have heard me differently.

Consequently, I thought it would be worth taking a minute to restate my position.

I support a strict, fair path to legal status:

  • If they are in the country illegally, they must come forward and apply for probationary status (10 years).
  • To gain probationary status: they must be in U.S. prior to January 1, 2014, pay $1,000 fine, back taxes, pass a criminal background check, learn English (and then pass proficiency test).
  • During the probationary status period: they must remain employed, not acquire a criminal record, not become delinquent with taxes.
  • At the successful conclusion of the probationary status period, they are eligible to apply for permanent resident status.
  • Failure to comply with these probationary status requirements shall result in immediate deportation

Upon the successful conclusion of the probationary status period, if these individuals are interested in obtaining citizenship, they are free to do so. They would follow the law as it stands at such time, just like anyone who comes to the U.S. legally. The fact that they were part of the “Path to Legal Status” program shall not be considered a plus or a negative in such determination.

Of course this is a thumbnail sketch of a very complicated issue. I not only am open to additional input, I encourage it.

Photo Credit: Leena Robinson / shutterstock.com