The comprehensive immigration reform that the Senate passed in June is now facing an uncertain future in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans. This means that it is more crucial than ever for advocates of immigration reform to increase the pressure for the bill that will allow a path to citizenship to be in the grasp of the 11 million undocumented immigrants that already live in the US, according to Senator Dick Durbin.
Speaking at a forum on the issue in Chicago yesterday, Durbin said that there might never be another opportunity to pass immigration reform that has the full support of the incumbent President. Durbin notes that strong community organization at the state and district level will be needed in order to help persuade reluctant members of the House to push through the measures for immigration reform.
“What it all boils down to is there’s a big job ahead of us,” Durbin says. “We achieved quite a bit. We have more to go.” Durbin admits that the bill is not perfect but that the path to citizenship contained within it is one of its more crucial components.
The reform package also allows illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to put in a US citizenship application within five years. Durbin acknowledges that the 13-year wait for most immigrants will not be easy, but says it was better than nothing. “America will be a better place when we have an immigration system that gives people a chance,” he adds.