A group of eight Senators today announced the outline of an agreement they reached on immigration-law changes that substantially mirrors the failed 2007 attempt to amnesty illegal aliens and increase foreign-worker numbers. The Senators’ proposal includes a legalization of illegal aliens currently residing in the United States, higher levels of legal immigration, mandatory employment verification, and a new guest worker program.
According to the announced framework, the plan includes four “legislative pillars:”
“1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.”
The plan would immediately legalize most illegal aliens, but would not give them access to citizenship until (1) a commission deems the borders more secure, (2) a system for verifying workplace eligibility is put in place, (3) the government shores up the system for checking whether visitors overstay their visas, and (4) those currently waiting for green cards obtain them. Illegal aliens who came to the U.S. as minors, and those working in the agriculture sector would have a more expedited means to acquire citizenship. The legalized aliens would not be immediately eligible for welfare or other public benefits.