First of all, let me congratulate you on being honorable and obeying the laws of this land. I know from some experience that it is not easy to obey the immigration laws of the United States.
I have taken some extra time on this, because I simply have been unable to find an answer within the confines of the law. Of course, the US Code is an extremely complicated work of piecemeal.
The word 'amnesty' has been thrown around a lot lately as the immigration issue has floated to the surface of the political swamp. "Amnesty" is an official pardon for those who have committed a political offense. So, there is a huge argument over whether or not illegal immigration is just a political offense... they just don't know it yet.
From my readings and understanding of the current debate, there is a push right now to offer illegal immigrants a way to become legitimate resident aliens of the United States. Generally, the plans call for a fine (which will probably be relatively small) and a requirement to pay all owed taxes.
Among other things, President Bush is advocating
some sort of path to citizenship plan as part of his Temporary Worker Program:
Some temporary workers will want to remain in America and pursue citizenship. They should not receive an unfair advantage over those who have followed the law, and they will need to be placed in line for citizenship behind those who are already in line. Those who choose the path of citizenship will have an obligation to learn the facts and ideals that have shaped America's history. (emphasis added)
So, the White House is calling for a path to citizenship for those currently in this country illegally or those who may enter as part of a future temporary worker program. But, advocates of such a system are quick to say that these immigrants would be at the back of the proverbial line.
I have read on occasion that this provision is built into the Senates "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006" (S.2611) which passed in the Senate 62-36 on May 25th. But, if any of you have seen a cartoon on "How a Bill becomes a Law"... you will notice that the Senate and the House have to reconcile their bills. And, the Senate bill contains a lot of provisions that the House bill did not cover. So, there is a lot of work to do.
The Senate Bill included the Immigrant Accountability Act of 2006 when introduced which provides "permanent resident status adjustment for a qualifying illegal alien (and the spouse and children of such alien) who has been in the United States for five years and employed (with exceptions) for specified periods of time."
The current bill is gargantuan, and I have been unable in my short time to really pick out where that provision is currently.
Regardless, it does not seem like either the House or Senate is planning to push any of those currently living in the country illegally in front of you. Any program offering a path of citizenship to illegal immigrants should have a penalty attached as well as a provision that they are at the back of the proverbial line.
That said, may I advise you not to give up your place in line. If you truly desire to become a citizen of the United States of America, I would make it a priority and get it done. Until you have been sworn in as a citizen, your status in this country is in some measure of jeopardy.
I know it costs a lot. But, if it is something you want, I really think you should finish it.
However, some people enjoy advantages of living in the country without citizenship. I don't know what those advantages are, because I was born in the United States (and, therefore, can run for President after I turn 35). I'm sure some people have found an advantage to being in limbo (personally, it would drive me nuts). So, there is always a risk to your status in this country until you have taken the oath to become a citizen of the USA. Plus, then you can get a cool passport and vote for your local school board member.
I hope this makes sense to you. Under the current political climate, I do not see your position as a legal and naturalized alien to be in serious jeopardy. Illegal immigrants, if granted such a generous deal, should be in the proverbial line behind you. But, I wouldn't let them cut in that line by putting it off.
That is all.
Horatio the Immigration... um... semi-expert-guru-like-person...