After a lot of talk and tons of preemptive defensiveness, the bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ unveiled the details of their immigration reform plan late Monday. The plan was due to officially be rolled out at some point on Tuesday, however, in light of the Boston Marathon tragedy that left three people dead and more than a hundred injured, the announced press conference has been delayed.
The eight lawmakers involved with putting this long-awaited plan together are evenly split between the two major parties, with Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) representing the Republicans, and Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), and Michael Bennet (Co.) representing Democrats. Under their plan, all illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States prior to Jan. 2012 would be permitted to stay so long as they applied for a provisional legal status. Beyond that, though, they would have to wait before they could get any sort of citizenship until America’s borders are sufficiently enforced.
As noted by Fox News:
Under the bill, immigrants here illegally could gain a provisional legal status six months after enactment as long as they meet certain criteria, and if the Homeland Security Department has moved forward on plans to secure the border. They would remain in that provisional status for 10 years, able to work legally but barred from federal benefits like welfare or health care. After 10 years they could seek green cards conferring permanent legal status, and three years after that they could petition for citizenship.
They would have to pay a total of $2,000 in fines along the way, and at least hundreds more in fees, though that number has not been determined.
Illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. when they were children would have an easier path forward. They’d be eligible for a green card in five years, and could apply for citizenship right after that.
While this new proposal obviously has bipartisan support, it remains to be seen how far it gets, and how it is modified along the way.
The official unveiling of this immigration reform legislation is expected to take place at some point later this week.