From President Barack Obama’s new outline for reforming immigration, here’s a key difference between the President’s plan and the bipartisan Senate coalition’s plan.Under the Senate’s plan, undocumented immigrants would not be eligible for a path to full citizenship until certain conditions are met or “triggers” are reached on border security.
Under Obama’s plan, however, there are no preconditions on border security attached.
It could be a dealbreaker with Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio said on conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s show today that he wouldn’t support any immigration reform deal without border security triggers.
However, the two proposals are similar in that they require undocumented immigrants to register with the government, pass background checks, and pay fees and back taxes before being eligible for citizenship.
Here’s Obama’s full plan on how an illegal immigrant would go about gaining citizenship:
• Create a provisional legal status. Undocumented immigrants must come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties before they will be eligible for a provisional legal status. Agricultural workers and those who entered the United States as children would be eligible for the same program. Individuals must wait until the existing legal immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line to apply for lawful permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”), and ultimately United States citizenship. Consistent with current law, people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new health care law.
• Create strict requirements to qualify for lawful permanent resident status. Those applying for green cards must pay their taxes, pass additional criminal background and national security checks, register for Selective Service (where applicable), pay additional fees and penalties, and learn English and U.S. civics. As under current law, five years after receiving a green card, individuals will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship like every other legal permanent resident.
• Earned citizenship for DREAMers. Children brought here illegally through no fault of their own by their parents will be eligible for earned citizenship. By going to college or serving honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years, these children should be given an expedited opportunity to earn their citizenship. The President’s proposal brings these undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
• Create administrative and judicial review. An individual whose provisional lawful status has been revoked or denied, or whose application for adjustment has been denied, will have the opportunity to seek administrative and judicial review of those decisions.
• Provide new resources to combat fraud. The President’s proposal authorizes funding to enable DHS, the Department of State, and other relevant federal agencies to establish fraud prevention programs that will provide training for adjudicators, allow regular audits of applications to identify patterns of fraud and abuse, and incorporate other proven fraud prevention measures.
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