US President Barack Obama. (File photo)
US President Barack Obama’s proposed immigration reform plan requires illegal immigrants to wait at least eight years to receive resident status.
According to the draft released on Saturday, 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the country would be granted permanent resident status - a green card - either eight years after the bill is passed or 30 days after visas are given to legal applicants.
A provision in the plan allows for young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to apply for green cards as soon as two years after the law is passed.
Meanwhile, the White House promised to allow a Congressional debate to take precedence over Obama’s so-called “backup plan”, said Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff.
“We’ve not proposed anything to Capitol Hill yet,” McDonough said, adding that “We’re going to be ready. We have developed each of these proposals so we have them in a position so that we can succeed.”
This comes as Congressional Republicans openly condemned the administration for prematurely suggesting plans on immigration reform, saying the plans would be “very counterproductive.”
Senator Marco Rubio went on to criticize Obama’s plan, calling it “a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress.”
US-based Human Rights Watch, however, has expressed concerns the reform plan will bring new pressures on illegal immigrants and make their waiting time even longer.