(WASHINGTON) — Two senior Senate Republicans proposed a bill on Tuesday that gives the children of illegal immigrants the opportunity to remain in the U.S.
After GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney only garnered a sliver of the Latino vote three weeks ago, the party decided that it had to do more to win over more of this growing electorate.
That’s why outgoing Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas offered the legislation known as the “Achieve Act,” which gives young immigrants the opportunity to earn permanent legal status through a three-step process.
The bill, which Kyl and Hutchinson have claimed to have worked on for the past year, requires applicants to have lived in the U.S. for five years prior to the bill’s congressional approval. They also must be under age 28 but exceptions will be made for those under 32 provided they’ve earned bachelor’s degrees.
Applicants will be rejected if they’ve committed a felony or more than one misdemeanor.
The process starts with applicants earning a W-1 non-immigrant visa lasting six years, provided they earn a BA or serve four years in the military.
Following that, they’ll receive a W-2 visa — a four-year work permit — which they’ll keep by completing four years of work or seeking a Masters. Upon completion, applicants can seek a W-3 visa to become permanent legal residents whereupon they’ll be reviewed every four years.
The “Achieve Act,” unlike the “Dream Act,” does not offer a special pathway to citizenship.
Kyl contends, “We’re not relegating people to some desert island,” and that people with a W-3 visa can still apply to become Americans although there’s no guarantee that will happen.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio