WASHINGTON (AP) - Advocates are raising concerns about bipartisan immigration legislation pending in the Senate, saying it erects undue barriers to citizenship for millions here illegally. Officials from several immigrant rights' groups and the Catholic church point to several thousand dollars in fines and fees that immigrants would have to pay before qualifying for citizenship, as well as income and employment requirements.
The bill also disqualifies people with a felony conviction or more than two misdemeanors, and it excludes people who arrived here after 2011. Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, says that after reading the 844-page bill, advocates have concluded it needs "major improvements." Still advocates continue to support the legislation and promised to fight for its passage even as they try to make it better.