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Published On: Tue, Jan 29th, 2013

Senators present immigration reform deal, President Obama pitches final plan in Neveda

A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached agreement Monday on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. This will set the stage for President Obama to make a presentation on Tuesday in Las Vegas addressing his immigration plan.

Arizona protesters 2010 photo/Chzz via wikimedia commons

Arizona protesters 2010 photo/Chzz via wikimedia commons

The deal covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States.

The eight senators expected to endorse the new principles Monday are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

In a statement, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “As the President has made clear for some time, immigration reform is an important priority and he is pleased that progress is being made with bipartisan support. At the same time, he will not be satisfied until there is meaningful reform and he will continue to urge Congress to act until that is achieved. The President looks forward to redoubling the administration’s efforts to work with Congress on this important issue this week.”

“What’s changed, honestly, is that there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle — including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle — that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” McCain said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I think the time is right,” McCain said.

The senators will call for accomplishing four goals:

  • Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.
  • Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.
  • Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
  • Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn’t recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.

Other conservatives immediately voiced their opposition to what they called amnesty, a code word on the political right for providing undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.

“When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who serves on the immigration subcommittee in the House. “By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration.”

A litany of left-leaning advocacy groups spoke out on the senators’ plan, praising it as a good first step but cautioning against harming the rights of workers.

“The people of this country are ready for us to be one country again without second-class people being mistreated simply because they lack paper even though they are already contributing to our economy and our tax system,” noted NAACP President Ben Jealous.

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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