Immigration Reform 2013, Immigration Reform 2013 Will See Historic Changes For 11 Million Undocumented People in the US, President Barack Obama on Tursday will lay out a major immigration overhaul, highlighting the need to fix the broken immigration system so that it is “fairer for and helps grow the middle class by ensuring everyone plays by the same rules.”
The White House’s immigration reform plan expands on a blueprint it released in 2011, but Obama will stop short of offering his own piece of legislation because of the progress made by the Senate “Gang of Eight.”
That Senate plan, titled “A Bipartisan Framework for Immigration Reform,” was unveiled on Monday. The senators’ proposal confronts the most controversial issue – how to handle the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country – by setting up a system under which immigrants illegally residing in the United States can register with the government, pay a fine, and be given probationary legal residency including the right to work.
What’s at stake?
An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States, as well as a huge line of persons waiting to get visas or full citizenship. These residents’ unclear legal status has led to them being treated as second-class citizens, exploited and discriminated against. America could use this pool of workers to shore up the economy and keep the population growing, but border security concerns, citizenship requirements, lack of legislative action, and xenophobia have combined to prevent real action on the immigration question.
Most importantly: many Republicans now support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a position previously deplored by many House GOP members as “amnesty.” That position switch removed the last major barrier to a bipartisan solution; it was very likely influenced by the November general election in which GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was able to gather less than a quarter of the Latino vote, contributing to his loss.
What has Congress proposed?
Four Democratic and four Republican senators have recently proposed a plan titled “A Bipartisan Framework for Immigration Reform,” which includes the path to citizenship. Undocumented immigrants would be able to register for a work visa and would be granted “end of the line” status for full citizenship. Their proposal requires the federal government to work with a commission of border state law enforcement authorities, governors, and other officials to certify the U.S.-Mexico border is secure before taking any action on immigration reform. Undocumented immigrants would be given “probationary legal status” and remain ineligible for citizenship or a green card until that certification is made.
The bipartisan group is led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American legislator from Miami, who has spoken on the need for immigration reform for years.