The current debate over immigration reform has taken many twists and turns, with politicians, advocacy groups and protesters on all sides of the issue constantly arguing over the best path forward. But recent developments coming out of the immigrant community itself may be some of the most transformative when it comes to determining how the U.S. government will reform the immigration system.
Not all undocumented workers set on citizenship
While a path to citizenship may be the most important issue in the reform debate for many in the immigrant rights movement, there are some within that community who could see a compromise that doesn’t necessarily grant them full legal rights.
According to The New York Times, many undocumented workers are more concerned with having freedom of movement than they are with gaining full citizenship. Understanding that Congress might not be willing to include that provision in immigration reform legislation, those workers envision a compromise that would allow them to get a driver’s license and have the ability to freely leave and re-enter the U.S. as the kinds of steps that could be taken to reach an agreement.
Glendy Martinez, a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant who is originally from Nicaragua, and currently lives and works in Houston, hopes to be able to visit the three children she left behind in her home country.
“So many people back there depend on those of us who are here,” Martinez told the Times. “It would be such a help if we could work in peace and go back sometimes to see our children.”
Other immigrants split over citizenship
Not all immigrants agree with that view. At the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., a group of 13 men who have legal permanent resident status recently wrote a letter to Congress saying that a path to citizenship for undocumented workers puts a stain on those who have lived in the U.S. legally and followed the required path to citizenship.