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4 Pillars of Proposed Immigration Reform

Posted by attorney Kyndra Mulder

The Senate bipartisan immigration reform plan has the primary goal somewhat synonymous with what we've seen in the past ... combat visa overstays and prioritize border security before legal status can be granted. However, the group of Republican and Democratic senators also proposed a "tough but fair" path to legalization for the estimated 12 million undocumented people (excluding, DREAMers and agricultural laborers) that would require not only a fine and repayment of back taxes but also a provision that would put them behind every individual who is currently waiting in line for a green card. The proposal successfully touches upon every angle of the immigration debate however, it looks as though it may head down the path of the fiasco in 2007 where Democrats and Republicans could not reach a deal when it came down to the vote.

“Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform"

"Four Basic 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 … Our legislation will require the completion of an entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons entering … on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required … Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

“Individuals who are present without lawful status -- not including people within the two categories identified below -- will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied ….

“[I]ndividuals who entered the United States as minor children … will not face the same requirements as other individuals in order to earn a path to citizenship. Similarly, individuals who have been working without legal status in the United States agricultural industry … will earn a path to citizenship through a different process under our new agricultural worker program.

"[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;

"[4] Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers."

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