It just is not as complicated as our politicians make it out to be. But simplification and effectiveness are not the strong suits of Congress. If you entered this country illegally, you are permanently precluded from obtaining citizenship or permanent residency. If you possess a particular in demand skill-set, as defined by the Chamber of Commerce, you can apply for a VISA that may lead to permanent residency or citizenship. There would also be a proviso for political refugees trying to escape Socialist tyranny.