April, 15, 2013, Louisville, KY- Making his rounds of the Sunday talk shows, Florida Senator Marco Rubio set out to quell conservative outrage over the pathway to citizenship offered in the upcoming immigration reform bill.

Rubio

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Rubio assured viewers that the proposed pathway to citizenship would take immigrants at least ten years to complete and charge a financial penalty for those who apply for the program.

Rubio wanted to make it clear that anyone in the country illegally won’t be handed a visa or citizenship instead they will have to get in the back of the line and pay an upfront fine.

“They don’t qualify for any federal benefits — no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare,” Rubio explained to “Fox News Sunday.” “They will have to stay in that status until at least 10 years elapses … and then all they get is a chance to apply for a green card.”

Under the plan outlined by Sen. Rubio, undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for permanent residency, or a green card, once specific criteria are met as outlined by the legislation. That criterion includes investments and enhancements to thousands of miles of southern border, the creation of a national employment verification system, similar to E-verify and a registry to determine when an immigrant has overstayed their visa, Bloomberg reported.

Meeting the border security requirements means that it could take up to five years before the green card process outlined in new legislation goes into effect, then undocumented Louisville immigrants can expect to wait an additional ten years to obtain their green cards.

As described by Sen. Rubio, the reform legislation appears to make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to become legally recognized citizens.

Advocacy groups have repeatedly encourage lawmakers to make it make the citizenship process easier and less time consuming for undocumented immigrants. Their reasoning is that the current laws make citizenship such a monumental task and separates people from their families for such long periods of time—the undocumented must leave the country for 10 years under current law– that few are willing to go through the proper legal channels.

The upside of reform legislation as outlined by the senator allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the country while they wait for green card approval.

Sen. Rubio disagreed with the notion that it should be simpler instead of difficult to obtain citizenship, telling Fox News, “If somehow being in the country illegally is cheaper, easier and quicker than the right way, I wouldn’t support that.”

“It will be cheaper, faster and easier for people to go back home and wait 10 years than [go through] this process. That’s why it’s not amnesty,” Rubio said, adding, “The alternative we’ve created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate.”

The route to legal residency, either through, visas, green cards, or naturalization is not an undertaking many immigrants are able to without legal knowledge and assistance. Louisville immigration attorney Rusty O’Brien can simplify the process of legal residency and help fight deportation.  Louisville immigrants are encouraged to contact Mr. O’Brien’s office to discuss their case.

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