Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigrants have been a source of hard work and innovation for America over the centuries. Without a doubt, the melting pot of our country has led to the most dynamic, most creative, and most successful nation in the history of the world.

It’s also necessary to recognize that, as a nation, we need to maintain control of our immigration system. The current system we have in place, when it works, does a great job of ensuring that highly skilled, hard-working, and invested immigrants can come to this country and integrate, becoming new Americans who contribute greatly to our society.

However, because of issues on the southern border, our immigration system has broken down, and we have over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. While these individuals are generally law-abiding people who work hard and contribute to their local communities, it’s also true that they’re not supposed to be here.

Outside of increasing our guest worker program and making sure that those who receive temporary permission to come to the US to work leave when their time is up, we also need to find ways to address this massive community of undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally.

Rounding up and deporting that many people is a nonstarter—it would be prohibitively expensive, disruptive, and inhumane to many communities, so a pathway to citizenship must be provided (after securing our southern border, so that we don’t end up right back where we started). However, this pathway must reflect the fact that these individuals tried to circumvent our legal immigration system. It’s even more important to get this right when citizenship guarantees a Freedom Dividend.

See Andrew’s policies on the DREAM Act, and Southern Border Security for a more complete view of how he’d address this complex issue.

We have to face facts that there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.  Millions of them pay taxes and have American children. Deporting them is impossible and inhumane.  Having them continue to live in the shadows brings with it many problems and drawbacks. The best path forward is to provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally.  We need to bring them into the formal economy out of the shadows. I am the son of immigrants and understand those who have come here to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Problems to be Solved

  • 11+ million undocumented immigrants are currently living in the United States
  • While the vast majority of these immigrants aren’t a security risk, having that volume of individuals in this country that aren’t known to the US government is itself a security risk
  • It would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive to deport all these individuals
  • These individuals tried to circumvent the legal immigration system into the US, and any pathway to citizenship for them must reflect this fact
Guiding Principles:
  • Security
  • Transparency
  • Humanity
Goals
  • Bring the 11+ million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and into the formal economy
  • Find a solution that reflects the fact that they entered the country illegally

As President, I will…

  • Secure the southern border and drastically decrease the number of illegal entries into the US.
  • Provide a new tier of long-term permanent residency for anyone who has been here illegally for a substantial amount of time so that they can come out of the shadows, enter the formal economy, and become full members of the community.
    • This new tier would permit individuals to work and stay in the country, provided they pay their taxes and don’t get convicted of a felony.
    • This tier would put them on a longer, eighteen-year path to citizenship (the same amount of time it takes those born in the US to get full citizenship rights), not only reflecting our desire to bring them into our country but also their decision to circumvent legal immigration channels.
  • Invest heavily in an information campaign to inform immigrant communities of this new tier of residency, and deport any undocumented immigrant who doesn’t proactively enroll in the program.
Explore More Policies

Join the fight