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.