Few viable ways to gain legal citizenship


To the Editor:
Webster’s Dictionary defines broken as: bro-ken – “violently separated into parts, shattered, being irregular, interrupted or full of obstacles.” As the immigrant numbers continue to grow in this country, the “brokenness” of our immigration system becomes visibly apparent as our neighbors, co-workers and friends continue to disappear.
We often hear a “why don’t they just get in line” argument. For the vast majority of people who come here, the reality is a “line” does not exist. Few viable ways are available to gain either residency or citizenship. Immigration fees are arbitrary. For any one individual, citizenship can take up to 10-15 years to finalize, costing up to $10,000-$20,000. Along the path to gaining legal residency or citizenship, people are often exploited or misled by some attorneys, counselors and even ordinary citizens who think they are knowledgeable about the system.
Further, the failure of Congress to act on reform is only creating bigger problems, weakening a system which is already failing and, more importantly, separating families. The broken can be fixed, however, and comprehensive immigration reform with an earned pathway to citizenship can occur. May the broken parts be brought together and may the obstacles be removed — 11.7 million immigrants await.

Margie Mejia-Caraballo
Chairperson, Quad Cities Interfaith Immigration Committee

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