Here are some details of the bipartisan Senate framework on immigration reform announced Monday. President Barack Obama is expected to endorse a similar set of proposals today during an appearance in Las Vegas.
To create a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country:
First, increase border security efforts including adding unmanned drones, surveillance equipment and more border agents.
Require completion of an entry-exit system to track whether people in the United States on temporary visas have left as required.
Create a commission of lawmakers and community leaders living along the southwest border to make a recommendation about when the border security measures have been completed.
While security measures are under way, illegal immigrants can register with the government, pass background checks and pay fines and back taxes in order to earn “probationary legal status.”
Once security measures are in place, immigrants on “probationary legal status” could apply for permanent legal status behind other immigrants already in the system.
People brought to the United State as children, and farmworkers, would have a quicker path to citizenship.
To improve the legal immigration system:
Reduce backlogs in family and employment visas.
Award green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math from American universities.
Strong employment verification:
Create nonforgeable electronic system for requiring prospective workers to demonstrate legal status and identity.
Stiff fines and criminal penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Admitting new workers:
Employers could hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American and the hiring of an immigrant will not displace American workers.
Create an agricultural worker program to meet the needs of the nation’s agriculture industry when American workers are not available.
Allow more lower-skilled immigrants to come to the country when the economy is creating jobs and fewer when it is not.
Permit workers who have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over years to earn green cards.
– The Associated Press