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Mike Coffman and the Myth of the “Automatic” Path to Citizenship

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CD-06 Congressman Rejects Bipartisan Senate Bill Because a 15-year Wait, Thousands of dollars in Fines, English classes and a Background Check Are Too “Automatic” of a Path 

At Tuesday’s Denver Post debate between Rep. Mike Coffman (R, CD-6) and challenger, Andrew Romanoff, Rep. Coffman stated that he did not support the bipartisan Senate immigration bill because it includes an “automatic or special path to citizenship for adults who knowingly broke our immigration laws.”

Maybe Mike Coffman should sit down and read the language of that bill because in order to earn citizenship through the Senate plan, an immigrant must do the following:

  • Wait minimum of 10 years in a temporary status before being eligible to apply for a green card (while those currently in line for visas are processed)
  • Wait at least 5 more years after green card is granted in order to apply for citizenship
  • Pass background check
  • Pay $2000 in fines (plus green card and citizenship fees)
  • Pay back taxes
  • Maintain a job

Does this sound like an “automatic” path to you? Rep. Coffman seems to have found a talking point he hopes will mask the fact that he never actually supported immigration reform, but the idea that the Senate immigration bill creates some sort of automatic fast track to citizenship for adult immigrants is blatantly false.

Becky Torres, Aurora voter and SEIU Local 105 elected board member, said, “The path to citizenship in the Senate immigration bill is long, rigorous and would show a huge commitment from immigrants to become the American citizens they aspire to be. Rep. Coffman may have fooled many out there into thinking he was supportive of the immigrant community in his district, but this is just one more sign that he has never supported immigration reform. Period.”

“What part of ‘earned citizenship’ does Mike Coffman not understand?” asked Patty Kupfer, Denver-based Managing Director of America’s Voice. “If he considers a 15-year wait to be ‘automatic,’ I wonder what Rep. Coffman thinks immigrants in this country should do to adjust their status? By putting citizenship out of reach for millions in this country, what Coffman is proposing is essentially a permanent underclass of people who are good enough to clean our houses and care for our children, but not good enough to be one of us.”