The new legislation requires a secure border with Mexico before the other provisions of the bill, including the citizenship proposals, would go into effect.
A bill that is being called “the biggest overhaul of American immigration laws in decades,” drafted by a group of 8 senators is ready to be brought before US lawmakers. According to the New York Times, the legislation provides a “13-year path to US citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.” However, this “13-year path” is conditional, and will only go into effect after certain steps are taken to “boost border security.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that although the “pathway to citizenship lies at the heart of the bill,” there are also provisions for farm laborers and those in low-income jobs. It also includes new measures for verification for companies that are hiring workers, and addresses the issue of the backlog of people who have applied to come to the US legally. Recent polls indicate a growing number of Americans support immigration reform that provides some type of “legal status” for those people already living in the US without “proper authorization.”
Although Congress has deadlocked repeatedly on immigration policy, leading figures in both parties expect that the legislation, expected to run hundreds of pages, stands an excellent chance of approval in the Senate, which plans to begin debate on it next month, and that some version of it could become law by year’s end.
According to Politico, several of the authors from the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” group have already met with President Obama to discuss the proposed legislation.
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