Obviously without a bill under consideration it is not clear what will eventually be discussed and passed, but it is interesting to watch what is on the minds of politicians. The narrative that I hear coming from many elected members of Congress is that there will be legalization without a pathway to citizenship. This appears to be the case even though a majority of Americans support a path to naturalization for all illegal immigrants. My conclusion is that some form of immigration reform is likely under Obama presidency but we need to watch carefully what will it be like.
Sen. Tim Kaine supports legalizing illegal immigrants: In an interview with the Times, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is saying that “I’m anxious to...vote for comprehensive immigration reform.” In another part of the interview, however, he says that he is planning to vote for reform that would require undocumented immigrants to pay a fine to get a permanent legal status. Maybe in his mind he is not thinking about path to naturalization or maybe he is just being practical that Republicans might vote for a legal status but would not be stupid enough to provide a path for naturalization, and thus, ensuring a permanent minority status in Congress without ever winning the White House.
Undocumented immigrants just want legal status: In my discussions with unauthorized immigrants the theme I am hearing is that they just want to have papers so that they can live without fear, travel to their native countries to visit their families, and really don't care much about what passport they carry. It is the immigrant rights groups that are making a lot more noise about fighting for citizenship rather than winning something more reasonable.