Over the weekend, USA Today reported on a document unintentionally leaked by the White House that is supposed to detail the Administration's immigration plan. Of all the aspects of the plan, one stands out as most controversial. It is the provision for the creation of a new visa for currently undocumented persons who "pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees". This new visa status would allow the person to remain legally in the U.S. for 4 years, be renewable for another 4 years, and then at the end of 8 years, the person can apply for lawful permanent resident status and be granted the coveted Green Card. After another 5 years, they would be eligible to apply for full citizenship.
Lawful Permanent Resident status has always been considered the probationary period for citizens-in-waiting but now the Administration is proposing a pre-probation to the probation period. This move would create more gradations of citizenship and belonging than there are color options in a J Crew catalogue. Sunset, Cinnamon, or Sienna anyone? Wait, what circle of hell limbo status are you in? Pre-citizen or pre-pre-citizen? The eight years will also draw unflattering comparisons to the Naturalization Act of 1790 and its amendments, a piece of legislation know for its "free white persons" requirement and also its draconian and xenophobic 8 to 14 years of probationary status before citizenship.