Details of the U.S. Senate's immigration proposal outlined

Monday, January 28, 2013 | 9:04 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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 Tuesday during an appearance in Las Vegas.

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 U.S. 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.
  • Farmworkers and people brought to the U.S. as children would have a quicker path to citizenship.

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.


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