An estimated 6.5 million illegal aliens could receive amnesty under ideas being publicly shared by House Republican leaders, according to a nonpartisan research group. The National Foundation for American Policy based its estimate mostly on statements made by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
The foundation's report estimates that 3.1-4.4 million illegal aliens would receive green cards because they're parents of children who are U.S. citizens. While Rep. Goodlatte has said he does not support a special path to citizenship for illegal aliens, he does support allowing them to gain citizenship through existing immigration programs. Existing law grants an unlimited number of green cards to parents of U.S. citizens.
The foundation also determined that another 600,000 illegal aliens could receive green cards because they're married to a U.S. citizen - another category that grants an unlimited number of green cards each year.
Finally, the foundation assumed that the House would pass an amnesty bill granting a path to citizenship to illegal aliens who were brought to the United States as children, adding another 800,000 to 1.5 million to the total. The Migration Policy Institute, however, estimates that the total number of "Dreamers" could be around 2.1 million.
Estimates of the total illegal-alien population range from 11 to more than 20 million currently residing in the United States. The most recent estimate from the Department of Homeland Security set the illegal-alien population at 11.5 million, so the foundation's estimate of the GOP plan would legalize more than half.
For more on this story, see the New York Times.