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At a Republican debate on Sept. 5, 2007, Romney criticized a provision in a Senate bill that would allow some immigrants to remain in the United States.
His full quote: "The Z-visa that was offered in that Senate bill let everybody who's here illegally, other than criminals, stay here for the rest of their lives. And that may not be technically amnesty, but it is certainly amnesty in fact."
But that's an inaccurate description of the bill. Only immigrants who meet certain requirements will be able to stay here "for the rest of their lives."
For instance, immigrants who have entered before January 1, 2007 are eligible to apply for Z visas. AND Romney is incorrect in stating that illegal immigrants who wish to remain in the U.S. must only prove that they are not criminals. Illegal immigrants who wish to work in the U.S. must pass a background check, pay fines, be consistently employed, and pay taxes.
Those seeking permanent citizenship must return to their country of origin and apply for permanent resident status through their applicant as well as pay a $4,000 application fee.
U.S. State Department, Fact Sheet on Border Security and Immigration Reform
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