WASHINGTON — Undocumented immigrants might face about a 10-year wait to become legal permanent U.S. residents under sweeping immigration overhaul legislation taking shape in the Senate, negotiators said Thursday. That’s shorter than some current wait times though longer than some advocates might like.
Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Robert Menendez of New Jersey discussed the timeline in a roundtable meeting with Latino-focused media. The senators and their aides emphasized that nothing has been agreed to and the timeline could change.
The timeline refers to how long someone would have to wait in a new provisional legal status before qualifying for permanent residency and a green card. The legislation is expected to immediately grant provisional legal status to many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country, but they couldn’t get green cards until the border has been secured, and they would have to meet criteria including learning English and paying fines.
The process “is likely to be in the range of 10 years, I say in the range because we have not nailed this down,” Durbin said.