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Everything You Need To Know About The Senate’s Immigration Bill

Everything You Need To Know About The Senate’s Immigration Bill

Written by Rebecca Leber

After months of initial negotiations, the Senate gang of eight released a comprehensive immigration reform bill that creates a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In addition to creating a long path to citizenship, the legislation adds new powers for the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen enforcement, attempts to clear the backlogs of people waiting for visas, and expands E-Verify. Here are the essential details about the legislation:

13-year path to citizenship: After DHS sets its enforcement goals, undocumented immigrants who have been here since before December 31, 2011 can apply for registered provisional immigrant status. If they pass the background check and pay a fine ($500 up front), this status allows them to work lawfully in the U.S. After 10 years, those with provisional status are eligible for permanent status. Three years later, they can finally apply for citizenship. Over the course of the 10-year period undocumented immigrants will pay $2,000 in fines plus taxes, and must demonstrate knowledge of civics and English.

Expedited path to citizenship for DREAMers and farmworkers: Both DREAMers and agriculture workers would receive green cards within five years, and DREAMers are eligible for citizenship immediately after.

Border security goals trigger legalization: DHS will have an additional billion more for border enforcement. The bill sets a goal of adding 100 percent “eyes on the border” and deterring 90 percent of entries at certain high-risk southwestern border areas. If the goal is not met within five years, this is where the Border Commission of state governors would step in to recommend action. Undocumented immigrants cannot obtain provisional legal status until DHS creates a strategy to achieve 90 percent effectiveness.

Deportations halted: The bill immediately halts deportations for immigrants who have been here since before December 31, 2011 and have not committed any serious crimes. It also allows those who have been deported but would be eligible for the new path to re-enter the country. Since 2000, 3.3 million people have been deported and deportations reached a record high during the Obama administration.

Mandatory E-Verify for all employers: The bill requires businesses implement E-Verify and check the legal immigration status of workers they hire.

Clears the 4.7 million in the backlogs: DHS will seek to clear the backlogs of people waiting for green cards. Certain family eligibility for visas will be eliminated, like siblings of U.S. citizens, but it also expands opportunities for spouses and minor children by exempting them from the cap on visas.

Increases visas for skilled workers and protections for non-agricultural workers: Under the bill, visas for high-skilled workers would increase 69 percent to 110,000. The bill also creates a new W-visa that allows low-skilled, non-agricultural workers to look for new employment without having their visa revoked and self-petition for permanent residency.

No protections for same-sex families: The bill excludes same-sex families from expanded protections for minor children and spouses. A straight married couple can petition for their spouses to arrive, but the Defense of Marriage Act prevents gay couples from having those same rights.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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5:46PM PDT on May 15, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

5:04AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

It sounds good, but...I don't trust the government to actually achieve their goals.

9:50PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Well Rose, the only way t stop it is to stop the companies recruiting them up here for their incredibly cheap labor. Its not the governments fault.

3:15PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Cut off again -

We need to get control of our country back. I damn well don't want to see the US turn into another Hispanic country! They already have South America, Central America and Mexico - they don't need the US and Canada. If you think I am biased - I am - and I WILL NOT apologize for it!!! I am biased in favor of the US - my country, my fellow US citizens, and my American culture. There is nothing wrong with standing up for that.

3:14PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

As usual, my comment was cut off -

If you think that's wrong, then you are UNpatriotic in my opinion. We, the citizens of the US, should take care of our own, and the others should stay home and work to improve their own countries.

As others here have said, the US cannot absorb the population of the rest of the world, we don't have the water and other natural resources to accommodate them, and they are taking jobs away from US citizens. In my own job search, I frequently come across positions I qualify for, except for the fact that I am not bi-lingual! It makes my blood boil that I can't get a job in MY OWN COUNTRY because I don't know some foreign language!!! If you don't think there is something wrong with that, you are not thinking clearly. How many times do you dial a phone number and hear "For English, press 1"? Why should we have to press 1? - Let the others press a number for their language!

Our representatives are not representing us, as usual. They are being swayed by special interests, such as businesses who want the cheap labor, and certain political parties who want votes from immigrant supporting organizations. Our border patrol officers are actually being intimidated from carrying out their jobs by our own government, and current detention and deportation rules are not being followed. This bill from the "Gang of 8" will do nothing to correct any of this.

We need to get control of our country back. I damn well don't want to see the US tur

2:38PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

This bill is totally inadequate! It's amnesty, pure and simple, and the last time we gave amnesty to illegals, our reward was another flood of illegals. And DON'T tell me not to call them ILLEGALS, because that is exactly what they are! They are illegal aliens because they entered this country illegally, so don't give me your pious, bleeding-heart nonsense!

I am totally against permitting anyone here illegally to stay because their kid was born here, or because they married a citizen. The child of an illegal is illegal - they should all be deported! A person should have to be a citizen before marrying a citizen. I am also totally against the claptrap of allowing relatives of illegals to come here in order "to keep families together"! What hogwash! They CHOSE to leave their families behind! That's their problem!

We have a right to secure our borders, and anyone who is caught crossing illegally gets what they deserve. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and entering ANY country illegally is WRONG! The moment they set foot on someone else's soil without permission they are criminals, pure and simple. Moreover, many of them are already criminals in their own countries. The US does not have to accept another country's criminals! What is wrong with the concept of protecting our borders and citizens, requiring proper immigration procedures, and refusing to allow criminals into our land??? If you think that's wrong, then you are UNpatriotic in m

10:08AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

So far they have managed to clam we don't have time or the resources to check every person. HAHHAHAAHAHAH But they have time to recruit them . Its laughable

9:16AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Robert That's why we need E-verify. We should be fining these buissinesses

6:34AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Blame our businesses Brain. THEY want the cheap labor and pretend they do it so they can lower our prices. LOLOLOL Profit now rules this country more than it ever has in modern times.

There will be no punishment for the companies that recruit people up here because it is simply looked at as the cost of doing business. As long as business is allowed to break the law for profit they will continue doing so.

3:33PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

In Mexico, illegal immigration is a felony and children born to illegal aliens are not allowed to stay, and get deported. That is why Mexico has no illegal immigration problems, and we do. Giving amnesty to illegal aliens only encourages more illegal immigration . In 1986 we gave 3 million illegal aliens amnesty and it only encouraged more illegal immigration.

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