While the proposed bill will cut down the waiting period for citizenship from five years, to a reduced three years, it will lengthen the waiting period for permanent residency from eight years, to ten years.
This move is seen as accommodating Republicans who feel undocumented immigrants should face longer waiting periods, claiming they are "cutting in front" of others also waiting for legalization.
"'We can’t create a system where it’s faster for illegal immigrants than for legal immigrants,' said one Republican familiar with the internal debate who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 'Republicans are clear that they are not going to create a special pathway to citizenship.'"However, pro-immigration advocates praised the proposed inclusion of a path to citizenship for the undocumented, after some earlier discussions excluded such a path and could result in a second-class of Americans unable to ultimately achieve citizenship.
"'It is an unusual construction, but it gets them to citizenship in the same time as the administration plan,' said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 'Most importantly, it eliminates the prospect of a permanent underclass by ensuring that, in time, all will have the opportunity to become Americans.'"