Archive | Citizenship RSS feed for this section

Nine Ways Obama Could Make Immigration Law Better Without Bothering to Wake Congress

13 Mar


The House of Representatives passed the Enforce Act yesterday.  This piece of legislation, which is never going to become law, provides a cause of action to Members of Congress to sue the President for failure to enforce the laws as they see fit.  The Enforce Act is aimed squarely at the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has given hope to so many young undocumented immigrants.  How this vote fits with the immigration statement of principles that the House GOP released in January is beyond us.  When in doubt, votes, much more than “statements of principles,” reflect where Congress truly is.  And the House actually managed to get worse on immigration.  So, in case, it is not perfectly clear- THE HOUSE HAS NO INTENTION OF PASSING ANY MEANINGFUL IMMIGRATION REFORM.  IF THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO BE A CHAMPION OF IMMIGRANTS, HE NEEDS TO DO SO ON HIS OWN.  Got it??Grumpy-Cat

My internet marketing professionals tell me that lists are very effective ways to get readers to a blog.  And cats in a foul mood.

So, here are nine things that the President could do administratively to grant some relief from the deportation machine.  That is, nine things that the President could do without Congress acting.  Any of these steps would ease the deportation crisis and provide relief and assistance to hundreds of thousands of people left hopeless by Congressional inaction.

Now, we have heard a lot from this President that he does not have the authority to simply ignore the law.  That simple statement is true enough.  However, the President does have broad authority to determine how to interpret ambiguous statutory language.  And the Immigration and Nationality Act is pretty darn ambiguous.  For example, Congress has stated that cancellation of removal for people who are not permanent residents is limited to those who have U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members who would suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if the applicant were deported.  It is the role of the immigration agencies to define what is “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.”  Whereas the Board of Immigration Appeals has been pretty stingy with that standard, the agency could depart from such a parsimonious interpretation and create a more generous standard.  The President’s power to fill-in the details and context of statutes was discussed by the Supreme Court in Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council.  In that case, the Supreme Court stated that it will defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of ambiguous statutory language.  As a practical matter, where a court finds a statutory command to be ambiguous, it will almost always defer to the agency’s interpretation of the statute.  Most statutory language is ambiguous.  Recently, for example, courts of appeals have found the term “when the alien is released” to be ambiguous as to time.  If an agency’s interpretation conflicts with an ill-expressed Congressional mandate, the Court reasoned, Congress could legislate more specifically.  It is here that the President can use Congressional inaction in his favor.  Since Congress seems incapable of passing any legislation, it is unlikely that the President’s liberalized policies will be overturned by a vengeful Congress.

Another Supreme Court case sheds some light on the powers of Congress vis-a-vis the President.  In INS. v. Chadha, the Supreme Court invalidated a statutory scheme in which the House of Representatives could veto a INS decision to grant relief from removal known as suspension of deportation to a particular individual.  The Court reasoned that the power to decide particular immigration cases has been delegated by statute to the executive and that it violated the Separation of Powers for the Congress to be able to veto a decision regarding a particular individual.  This case shows that Congress may disapprove of decisions that the agency makes, but absent legislation, can not do anything about them.  Again, the difficulty of getting legislation through Congress gives the President a lot of leeway.

Presumably, the President, a constitutional law professor, knows all that, so he is ready to take actions that would dramatically improve the lives of immigrants in America, re-capture his status as “immigration reform champion in chief,” and get himself measured for a monument on the Mall.

  • Parole in place.  This is the big kahuna of administrative reform.  Parole in place is a mechanism that would allow the agency to “parole” individuals who entered without inspection into the U.S.  While parole is normally thought of as something done to allow people to enter the U.S., parole in place allows the government to parole them from within the U.S.  The administration recently did this for the undocumented spouses of members of the U.S. military, but there is no reason why the concept can not be applied to tens of thousands of others.  Through parole in place, people who have U.S. citizen family members or job offers may be able to adjust their status.  Friends of Benach Ragland (FOBRs) Cyrus Mehta and Gary Endelman wrote the definitive piece on parole in place, so we will not go into excessive detail here.
  • Reconsider Matter of Rojas.  In Matter of Rojas, the BIA held that ICE may hold someone as a mandatory detainee regardless of how long it has been since the individual was released from criminal custody when ICE encounters the immigrant.  Many district courts have held that a person is only subject to mandatory detention if ICE apprehends them “when released” from criminal custody.  By reconsidering Rojas, ICE would allow immigration judges to determine whether particular individuals are dangerous or likely to flee before a removal hearing.  This would have the effect of drastically reducing the detained population.
  • Redefine custody.  Alternatively, ICE could interpret “custody” to include alternatives to detention such as ankle bracelets and home monitoring, as many criminal agencies do.
  • Issue a regulation stating that the separation of a parent from U.S. citizen child is, per se, presumptively “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.”  This would allow parents of U.S. citizens to have more solid claims to cancellation of removal, removing the biggest obstacle to grants of cancellation of removal.  The INS created a presumption of hardship before when it issued regulations underillegal-immigrants-children-deport-parents NACARA allowing certain Central American and Eastern European immigrants to seek suspension of deportation.  The INS issued a regulation stating that NACARA applicants were entitled to a presumption of extreme hardship.  The immigration agency would be free to limit the presumption of exceptional and extremely unusual hardship, but should begin with the recognition that deporting the parent of a U.S. citizen child is an inherently traumatic act with horrific long term consequences.
  • Issue a directive to ICE and CBP stating that, unless significant criminal issues are present, the agencies should decline to enter administrative removal orders and instead seek removal through removal proceedings in immigration court.  DHS issues a wide variety of administrative removals.  Only about one-third of removal orders are entered by an immigration judge.  The rest are issued by ICE either due to reinstatement of a prior removal order, visa waiver overstays, expedited removal of arrivals and of non-resident criminals and voluntary returns.  DHS could issue a directive (not guidance or suggestions but orders) requiring ICE to bring these cases before an immigration judge, where the individual could apply for relief.
  • Issue a directive to ICE attorneys in immigration court to seek two year continuances in all cases in immigration court where there is no criminal ground of removability and no relief.  This would force ICE to work on the hardest cases and clear the backlog of cases where a person has done nothing more than entered illegally or overstayed a visa.
  • Issue a directive that detainers should only be lodged where a person has been convicted of a deportable offense.  Detainers are issued to people who have been arrested regardless of whether there is a conviction.  Removal proceedings are often started due to an arrest that does not lead to any criminal charge because a detainer has been issued.  Limit detainers only to those who have been convicted of a deportable offense.
  • Issue a precedent decision affirming the low standard for the exceptions to the one year rule for asylum.  The law requires an asylum applicant to seek asylum within one year of entry to the U.S.  There are exceptions to this rule and the statute requires that an applicant must prove the applicability of the exception “to the satisfaction of the attorney general.”  This is the lowest legal standard.  Yet, courts routinely hold applicants to a much higher standard.  The Attorney General can issue a decision making it clear to the courts that the exception to the one year rule should be liberally applied.I-821-TPS-Facts
  • Grant Temporary Protected Status to Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Venezuelans, and Ukrainians.  Temporary Protected Status is granted to nationals of countries where there is disaster or upheaval.  It provides individuals already in the U.S. with temporary status, protection against removal, and work authorization.  It is possible to make a cogent claim to TPS for each of those countries.  Mexico and the Central American countries have been beset by drug and gang violence creating a humanitarian disaster on the ground and Ukraine is the flashpoint of a major crisis in Europe.  These are all legitimate uses of Temporary Protected Status.

The House’s action yesterday makes it clear that the House has no intention of moving on immigration reform.  The only thing that the President has to lose is his dwindling support in the immigrant community.  And he loses that by not acting, rather than acting.

On Marches and Flags

14 Oct


Last week, among the hundreds of American flags raised at Tuesday’s March for Human Dignity and Respect,  a few Mexican flags were spotted. That’s right.  Mexican citizens carried the Mexican flag in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, of all places.  The reaction of the anti-immigrant crowd was predictable- this was akin to General Santa Anna’s troops razing the Alamo, slaughtering the proud Texans within.  The FOX news crowd immediately seized upon the Mexican flag to show that the immigrants marching for a solution to our broken and corrupt immigration system where not like the immigrants of the past but rather a different breed who want nothing to do with American customs and culture.

Armed with fear, I set out to see if other groups were also resisting the melting pot of American integration.  Less than a week later, I discovered the Italian flag in cities across the country.  People who seem like normal and decent Americans gathered along city streets to wave the Italian standard.  In fact, in some cities, spectators made replicas of warships and “sailed” them proudly down the avenue. (with children, no less!)

Italians Santa_Maria_385

It is worth pointing out at this time that Italy is mired in a prolonged economic slump with a government that seems incapable of responding to the crisis.  Italy has a strong history of organized crime that work in tandem with Italian-American gangs in the U.S.  At times like this, the refusal of Italians in the U.S. to integrate into mainstream American culture and renounce their warlike tendencies is troubling.

Then I learned that much of this country embarks upon a drunken bacchanalia every March 17 in honor of an Irish saint.  On March 17, otherwise abstemious and virtuous Americans become infected with the debauchery well known to afflict the Irish.  Waving Irish flags and consuming vast amounts of alcohol, the Irish and those easily influenced by ale and liquor make a mockery of American integration.

StPatricksDayParade_460x285 irish-st-patricks-day-1

Finally, my studies led to some real Americans eager to take back their government.  I saw a protest this weekend that took into account the historical flags of our American forefathers.


That one in the middle, known as the Confederate Battle Flag,  was flown when Southern states, afraid of the direction of the country, rebelled violently against the national government, which was increasingly dominated by an industrialized and heavily immigrant north.

Guess, I sort of understand the fear.

Arizona loses again, but its citizens win

17 Jun

Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government.  This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration.  The Court held that this form was sufficient evidence of citizenship without additional proof and on that basis struck down the Arizona law requiring a registering voter to prove he is a citizen.


Although this case was decided under the Elections Clause, where federal law always trumps state law, this is an important decision for those who have had to jump over additional unconstitutional hurdles, simply due to the biases of those who enact and implement Arizona’s laws.  No longer will citizens of Arizona be forced to jump through legal hoops that the Federal Government does not require.  We are hopeful that this reasoning will extend to other states and legislation that has placed additional burdens and barriers on individuals beyond what is required and permitted by the Federal Government.  Although Jeffrey Toobin did not think there were any major Supreme Court decisions today, Benach Ragland believes the enfranchisement of the voters of Arizona is major indeed.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the theories offered by Arizona officials is another black mark against the litigation strategy the State of Arizona has embarked upon.  In the last year, this is Arizona’s second major defeat at the Supreme Court.  Less than a year ago, the Supreme Court knocked down Arizona’s SB 1070, the “show me your papers” law in Arizona v. United States.   Earlier this month, a federal judge in Phoenix ruled that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had systematically violated the civil rights of the Hispanic citizens of the United States.  While the Sheriff has expressed his intent to appeal, Arizona citizens are questioning the use of state funds to pay for ineffective and hubristic litigation.  How much money has been spent by Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio to defend indefensible policies?  In  the era of the sequester and failing schools, can Arizona afford Jan Brewer’s and Joe Arpaio’s ego trips to court?


PS- I took this picture myself!  – ACB

After Lengthy Court Battle, Client Sworn in as U.S. Citizen

4 Jun


Last Friday in Baltimore, Maryland, our client, Temitope (“Tope”) Akinsade, was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Naturalization ceremonies are always gratifying, but this event was particularly moving in light of the government’s relentless and ultimately unsuccessful effort to deport Tope – who has been a lawful permanent resident for over 12 years. To know Tope’s story is to understand both the unfairness of our immigration laws and the charade that is ICE’s supposed policy on prosecutorial discretion.

A native of Nigeria, Tope came to the United States with his family as a 7-year-old in 1988. In 2000, at the age of 19, he pled guilty to a felony embezzlement charge after cashing three checks for some neighborhood toughs at the bank where he was working as a teller. Shortly after the incident, Tope reported the transactions to his supervisor and agreed to cooperate with the police and the FBI in their investigation. On the advice of his attorney, who assured him he would not be deported but would “become a citizen in five years,” Tope pled guilty to one count of embezzlement by bank employee. He was sentenced to one month in community confinement and three years of probation, which he successfully completed.

Believing the incident was behind him, Tope enrolled at the University of Maryland, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science with honors. He stayed at Maryland to earn a master’s degree, receiving a full fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Tope was then offered a slot in a leadership program at General Electric, working in the company’s Global Research Center in upstate New York. For several years he worked for GE and traveled to and from the U.S. without incident.

Then, one morning in January 2009, Tope was arrested by ICE agents, charged with being deportable from the United States, and sent to a detention center in Batavia, New York. Authorities claimed that his embezzlement conviction qualified as an “aggravated felony,” which under U.S. immigration law means near-mandatory deportation. He was held for seventeen months before being released on bond. Although he had not been sentenced to prison for the underlying crime, Tope spent nearly a year and a half imprisoned by ICE, and he faced removal proceedings in immigration court without the right to an appointed attorney.

Over the course of many months, Tope’s case ground its way through the notoriously slow workings of immigration court. An immigration judge sustained the government’s claim that Tope’s embezzlement conviction in 2000 met the definition of an “offense involving fraud or deceit,” and thus an aggravated felony. As a result, he not only was found deportable but also declared ineligible for virtually all forms of relief – including cancellation of removal – despite having been a green card holder for nearly nine years. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s decision.

Tope then brought his case to the federal courts. He appealed the BIA’s removal order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. At around the same time, he hired a criminal attorney to file a writ of error coram nobis in U.S. district court in Maryland, asking the court to vacate his embezzlement conviction based on the gross misadvice about immigration consequences he was given during his criminal proceedings in 2000. The district court judge found that Tope had received ineffective assistance of counsel, but ruled that he had not been prejudiced because the trial court gave a general warning during his plea hearing that if he was not a U.S. citizen, a conviction could lead him to be deported. Tope appealed the judge’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. His fate now rested in the hands of the two federal appeals courts.

Tope’s fortunes finally began to change when Thomas Ragland took the case. Thomas filed briefs and presented oral argument in the Second Circuit, urging the court to vacate Tope’s removal order because the embezzlement statute under which he was convicted required proof of either an intent to defraud or an intent to injure – and the record of conviction was inconclusive as to Tope’s intent at the time of the offense. The government strenuously opposed these arguments, insisting that the conviction was clearly an aggravated felony and that Tope should be deported without delay. In May 2012, the Second Circuit issued a precedent decision agreeing with Thomas’ arguments that Tope had not been convicted of an aggravated felony, because both the immigration judge and the BIA had improperly inferred an intent to deceive in the commission of the embezzlement offense – which was not established by the record of conviction. In addition, given the relatively minor nature of the crime, the passage of time, and Tope’s exemplary achievements, the court also wondered aloud why ICE refused to favorably exercise prosecutorial discretion in the case. Finding that the government had failed to prove its aggravated felony charge, the appeals court vacated Tope’s order of removal.

At the same time, Thomas also briefed and argued the coram nobis appeal in the Fourth Circuit. In July 2012, the court sustained the appeal and reversed the lower court’s ruling, agreeing with Thomas’ argument that a trial court’s general warning about deportation consequences at the plea stage was inadequate to overcome an attorney’s specific (incorrect) assurances to his client that entering a guilty plea would not render him deportable. Thus, in another precedent decision, the Fourth Circuit vacated Tope’s embezzlement conviction altogether. Federal prosecutors urged the en banc Fourth Circuit to rehear the case, but their request was denied.

With a clean record – as both his removal order and his felony conviction had now been vacated – Tope submitted his naturalization papers last November. Several weeks after appearing with Thomas for an interview at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he was notified that his application had been approved. On Friday May 24, Tope took the oath of allegiance and became U.S. citizen.

Tope spent over a year in ICE detention based on a single conviction that did not result in any jail time, and which ultimately was vacated by the federal court of appeals. And the government relentlessly sought to deport him based on an aggravated felony charge that evaporated under the glare of judicial scrutiny. In the past two years, ICE has stated that its personnel will use “prosecutorial discretion” to judiciously manage its expenditure of resources in immigration proceedings. In a memo published in June 2011, ICE Director John Morton outlined a series of factors to be taken into consideration when deciding to exercise prosecutorial discretion. Among these factors was the length of time spent in the United States, particularly in lawful status, the pursuit of higher education in the United States, whether the individual entered the United States as a child, whether the individual poses a national security or public safety concern, ties and contributions to the community, and whether the individual has cooperated with law enforcement. All of these factors weigh in favor of an exercise of prosecutorial discretion for Tope Akinsade, yet ICE refused and instead aggressively and persistently sought to deport him. It was not until the Second Circuit ruled in his favor that Tope was assured that his conviction, later held to be constitutionally unsound, would not prevent him from remaining in the United States. Fortunately, the federal appeals courts were persuaded by legal arguments challenging both the BIA’s removal order and the U.S. district court’s denial of coram nobis relief. The law prevailed where ICE’s discretion and common sense failed. Tope Akinsade is a proud and deserving United States citizen.

The April 10 Immigrant Rights Rally by Liana Montecinos

23 Apr


Rally“¡Obama escucha, seguimos en la lucha!” This shouting was heard from downtown on 14th street as Sandra, Mariela, and I made posters to join thousands of people at the immigration rally held in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, April 10th Since my arrival to the United States in 1999, I have attended every immigration rally in Washington, D.C.  I find every experience of a rally to be very rewarding including being able to shout nonstop on the streets of DC without getting arrested.  I am inspired and ignited by the hard working people who are forced to live in the shadows of society, who cannot drive or work, pay in-state tuition where their parents have lived and paid taxes for years, who did not have the chance to say goodbye to a family member who died in their country of origin, and who-above all-never lose faith in justice.  Last Wednesday, thousands of undocumented brothers and sisters ventured out of the shadows of their homes, work, and communities, taking public transportation or carpooling, walking unafraid in Washington DC, to wave their colorful flags and say “presente.”  I saw people of all ages and colors lifting the American flag, being proud of being in this nation and wanting to desperately have an opportunity to achieve the American dream.  On last Wednesday, I saw the human face of the immigration issue. I hope and believe our President and our legislators saw it too.

Things are about to get really interesting

10 Apr

time is now

As Washington, DC has seemed to jump from winter to summer, the politics of immigration reform are heating up.  For the rest of this week, the Capital will be inundated with activists, lawyers, politicians and celebrities all advocating for immigration reform.  Among all this activity, the Senate “Gang of Eight” is prepared to release their proposed bill.  Rumored to be nearly 1500 pages, the Gang of Eight will provide the meat on the bone that all of us have been waiting to chew on.  Benach Ragland will provide you with the latest and most comprehensive information regarding the politics, the proposal, and discussions as to how the proposals will affect the lives of immigrants.

Today, April 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM on the West Lawn of the Capitol, tens of thousands of immigrants and their friends will hold a rally for commonsense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.  Over the past few days, buses of immigrant supporters have departed from cities all across the United States to attend the rally.  Along with the rally, immigrants are lobbying Congress, meeting with the media, and demonstrating the urgent need for immigration reform.

Tomorrow, on April 11, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Day of Action for Immigration Reform is being held.  Immigration lawyers and their clients will meet with their representatives to share their stories of the  hardships of the U.S. immigration laws.

If you can not make any of these events, we urge you to make your voice heard by contacting your representatives. 

Finally, we learned today that the Gang of Eight will release their bill as early as Thursday, April 11 and the House is not far behind.  As deportations continue, people organize, and the CIS runs out of H visas in a week, the urgency of immigration reform could not be more obvious.

The Leaked White House Immigration Bill: the Legalization Component

20 Feb


It took only three years longer than promised—and a leak that may or may not have been intentional—but the White House has finally produced a legislative proposal to fix the immigration system. Dubbed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2013, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million removable noncitizens in the country, mandate the eventual use of E-Verify for most employers, and dull many of the draconian provisions enacted in the 1996 immigration bill. With the leaked portions of the bill totaling more than 200 pages, there’s a lot to chew on. Today, we’ll look at the part of the White House bill relating to legalizing the undocumented, and tomorrow we’ll review the enforcement-related sections.

Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status

As has by now been widely reported, the bill would allow qualified applicants to first obtain “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” status and later adjust to lawful permanent resident (a “green card” or LPR) status, a prerequisite for foreign nationals wanting to become U.S. citizens. To qualify for LPI status, noncitizens would have to be physically present in the United States on the day the bill was introduced and not have been convicted of a number of specified criminal offenses. Noncitizens could apply for LPI status if they were in removal proceedings, were under an outstanding order of removal, or had illegally re-entered the country after a prior removal. Applicants for LPI status could generally not be detained or removed, and would not be considered “unlawfully present,” while their applications were pending.

Qualified immigrants would initially be granted LPI status for a period of four years, during which time they would be authorized to work and travel abroad for up to six months, subject to renewal. Noncitizens with LPI status could also petition for their spouses and children to receive the same status, even if they are living overseas. Interestingly, the White House bill does not specifically state that LPI status could be accorded based on same-sex marriages. However, it incorporates the standing definition of “spouse” in Section 101(a)(35) of the INA, which is written in gender-neutral terms. As the bill is written, it is thus unclear (perhaps intentionally so) what, if any, protection same-sex couples would receive.

Adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status

To qualify for adjustment, LPIs would have to satisfy any outstanding federal tax liability, be actively studying English and U.S. history, and not have left the country for more than six months while in LPI status. Applicants aged 21 or older when the bill was introduced would have to pay a $500 penalty to adjust status in addition to any processing fees. The government could not grant any adjustment applications until either eight years after the date of the law’s enactment, or 30 days after all immigrant visas became available for family- and employment-based petitions filed before the date of enactment, whichever came first (but no sooner than six years after LPI status was first granted). The only exception would be for noncitizens who were under 16 when they initially entered the country, were enrolled or had obtained a high school or college degree when they applied for LPI status, and had completed two years of college or the military when they applied for LPR status. (Or in other words, those who would qualify under the DREAM Act.)

Administrative and judicial review of denied applications

For noncitizens whose applications for LPI or LPR status were denied, the bill would require the creation of an administrative body housed within the Department of Homeland Security to hear appeals. Notices of appeal would have to be filed within 60 days of the denial, and stays of removal would generally be granted while appeals are pending. If their administrative appeals were denied, prospective LPIs and LPRs could file a challenge with a federal district court, which, in turn, could uphold or reverse DHS’ decision or remand the case back to executive officials for consideration of additional evidence. Importantly, federal judges would also have authority to issue stays of removal, and immigrants would not be considered “unlawfully present” while their appeals—administrative or judicial—were pending.

Protections for Employers of Prospective LPIs

Finally, the White House bill contains a number of protections for employers of workers seeking to legalize their status. For example, employers who learn of employees with pending LPI applications would not violate the law by continuing to employ them while their applications are pending. The bill would also prevent genuine employment records submitted in support of an application for LPI or LPR status from being used against the employer in a civil investigation or criminal prosecution. These provisions may well have been added due to the DACA program, which lead to concerns among some employers of liability or retaliation if their workers used employment records to demonstrate the extent of their presence in the country.

Comparison to “Gang of Eight” Framework

While the bipartisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of Eight” has yet to propose actual legislation, it’s almost certain that the path to citizenship in the White House bill is more realistic and immigrant-friendly. Unlike the Senate framework, for instance, the White House would not make the issuance of green cards contingent on satisfying an unknown set of security “triggers.” Based on statements from Marco Rubio, the Senate plan might also require the undocumented to rely on a third party (such as a qualified employer or family member) to sponsor them for a green card, which could potentially leave millions without a true path to citizenship. While we will wait to see an actual bill before expressing final judgment on the Senate plan, the White House has set a high bar.