The “Gang of Eight”, the bipartisan group of senators charged with drafting legislation for immigration reform, is unveiling their compromise bill Tuesday. The bill, which is the
first major, comprehensive immigration reform bill to be introduced in Washington in six
years, is slated to be filed today.
the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration
Modernization Act of 2013,” the bill creates a pathway to citizenship to the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants by way of a 10-year wait before filing for a Green card, $2,000 in fines, the requirement of having a job, as well as passing a background check. There would be an additional three-year wait to apply to be a U.S. citizen after applying for the green card. Younger undocumented immigrants and agricultural workers would be eligible to apply for a green card within five years.
The Path to Citizenship for undocumented immigrants is also dependent upon the federal government passing several boarder security thresholds throughout a 10-year time period.
It also appropriates $4.5 billion for
tightened border security; requires businesses to electronically verify employees’
immigration status; updates America’s Visa system to better track
immigrants who stay longer than their allotted time; and creates a new classification system, the “W-Visa”, for low-skilled workers.
The legislation is scheduled for its first Senate Judiciary Committee Friday, with another scheduled for Monday.
“Gang of Eight” is comprised of Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio
(R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
The Democratic members include U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles
Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Rubio, McCain and Flake briefed colleagues on the legislation Monday evening.
“I’m anxious to see it, but there are positive things about this bill,” U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) told Politico. “The problem is going to be the step towards citizenship. I think that’s going to get the most attention.”
Members of the Gang of Eight say they were optimistic
about the chances for the legislation's passage, which may be
particularly challenging in the conservative-majority House.
“I think there’s always been goodwill on everybody’s side and a real effort to achieve success,” Menendez said.
“The country’s economic problems are just going to get worse without rational immigration reform,” Graham told Politico.