Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women and Children

Report Author: 
Marc R. Rosenblum, Randy Capps and Serena Yi-Ying Lin
Original Date of Publication: 
2011 Jan

Requirements for earned legalization (such as English proficiency, employment, continuous presence and monetary fines) could have different effects on the ability of unauthorized men, women and children to gain legal status. This Policy Brief examines requirements proposed in the five major legalization bills proposed by Congress since 2006.

Analysis shows that language requirements, depending on how they are structured, could exclude the largest number of unauthorized immigrants, with between 3.3 million and 5.8 million unauthorized adults unable to pass the English language tests contemplated by two recent bills. Employment rules would exclude the next-largest share of unauthorized immigrants and would fall especially hard on women, who are less likely than unauthorized men to be in the workforce; followed by continuous presence requirements, which would exclude many children, who are likely to have lived in the country for less time than unauthorized adults.

Citation: 

Rosenblum Marc R., Randy Capps and Serena Yi-Ying Lin. 2011. Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women and Children. Washignton, DC: Migration Policy Institute. 

Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute