A bipartisan group of Senators is set to unveil a sweeping plan to reform the nation’s immigration system — proposed legislation that would represent the most comprehensive overhaul of the system in nearly three decades.
The proposed bill includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011, provided that a broad array of steps are taken to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico in the next six months.
Here are some of the details of the path to citizenship, according to multiple reports and confirmed by Senate aides:
- The bill would include a 13-year path to citizenship for approximately 11 million people in the U.S. illegally.
- The path to citizenship is open for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011. They would gain “registered provisional” status after paying a $500 fine and back taxes, and after completing a criminal background check.
- After 10 years, they could apply for a permanent resident status. Three years later, they could apply for citizenship.
But before that, steps must be taken in the next six months to secure the border. According to the New York Times, the Department of Homeland Security must present a plan in the next six months to help secure the border.
Here are the steps the bill takes to help implement that plan:
- $3 billion in funding to increase manpower and resources — up to 3,500 additional Border Patrol agents, grants to local law enforcement agencies, unmanned aerial vehicles, surveillance technology and Department of defence radar technology.
- Deploying members of the National Guard to help build Border Patrol.
- $1.5 billion in funding to extend fencing along the near 2,000-mile border.
The legislation is being introduced by a bipartisan group of eight Senators. The Republicans in the group are Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.). The four Democrats are Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), and Michael Bennet (Co.).
The bill comes after months of negotiations between the lawmakers, which began back near the end of January.
“A healthy, functioning immigration system is vital to securing the integrity of America’s sovereign borders, advancing our economic growth, and protecting human dignity,” McCain and Schumer wrote Tuesday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
“We believe our legislation represents a responsible, humane and enduring solution to the problem of the millions who are here illegally while continuing to attract and assimilate some of the most skilled talent the world has to offer – but only if we also make good on broken promises to secure U.S. borders and enforce the law.”
The Senators are expected to unveil the legislation Tuesday, though full public rollout will likely be delayed in the wake of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
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