Launching a ramped up effort to prioritize immigration reform under the Obama administration–8 Senators (4 Republican and 4 Democrat) have proposed bipartisan plan to reform immigration law in this country. After four years of disastrous immigration law enforcement and border patrolling splitting up thousands of families, leaving children orphaned and subjecting undocumented immigrants to a slue of human rights violations–is there hope in sight?
Yes and no. The proposed law does propose pathways to citizenship, but only after there has been an increase patrolling on the border and in places of work.
The plan is a mix of legal immigration programs for undocumented immigrants and additional immigration enforcement measures. The path to citizenship will kick in only after additional border security and visa entry controls are implemented.
Immigrants under the plan would be required to pay back taxes, fines and other penalties and learn English before they can apply for permanent status. Applicants will also have to show they are currently employed. Those who have been convicted of crimes or are found otherwise ineligible for visas will be susceptible to deportation. It’s not clear now many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country would be excluded because of these restrictions.
To accommodate conservatives who have long demanded increased border security before agreeing to a path to citizenship, the framework states clearly that the process to gain permanent immigration status will begin only “[o]nce the enforcement measures have been completed.”
They also acknowledge that the path to citizenship will be long and hard. Obama will be addressing the nation tomorrow and proposing his own plan, as well.
Update: Ezra Klein has 5 things to pay attention to in the new immigration proposal.