Immigration Reform Moves to States; New York Eyes Citizenship After 3 Years of Taxes

Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, June 16, 2014

The frustration with Washington’s inaction on any type of immigration reform has forced proponents to shift their attention to states such as New York where a new plan was offered Monday to grant citizenship and voting rights after an illegal immigrant pays three years of taxes.

The Washington-based Center for Popular Democracy said the New York legislative effort to provide citizenship benefits to three million immigrants is the result of the fallout of congressional gridlock and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat last week, which pundits blamed on his support for reform.

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The New York legislation, titled “New York is Home Act,” sets requirements for immigrants to meet before they can apply for citizenship with New York’s Office for New Americans, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

• Proof of identity.

• Proof of three years of New York state residency.

• Proof of three years of New York state tax payments.

• Commitment to abide by New York laws and uphold the state constitution.

• A willingness to serve on New York juries and to continue to pay state taxes.

In return, said Friedman’s group in a release, immigrants would get New York state citizenship, financial aid for higher education, health care, drivers’ licenses, professional licenses, the right to vote, the right to run for office, and protection against racial profiling.

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