Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

 

From Senators Chuck
Schumer, John McCain, Dick Durbin, Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Marco
Rubio, Michael Bennet, and Jeff Flake
Introduction:



We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security
has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don’t
have a functioning immigration system. This has created a situation where up to
11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation
acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to
secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration
system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals
who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent
reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.



Four Basic Legislative Pillars:
1. Create a tough but
fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the
United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether
legal immigrants have left the country when required;
2. Reform our legal
immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that
will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
3. Create an effective
employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the
hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
4. Establish an improved
process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs,
while simultaneously protecting all workers.

 



1. Creating a Path to Citizenship for
Unauthorized Immigrants Already Here that is Contingent Upon Securing the
Border and Combating Visa Overstays

- Our legislation will
provide a tough, fair, and practical roadmap to address the status of
unauthorized immigrants in the United States that is contingent upon our
success in securing our borders and addressing visa overstays.
- To fulfill the basic
governmental function of securing our borders, we will continue the increased
efforts of the Border Patrol by providing them with the latest technology,
infrastructure, and personnel needed to prevent, detect, and apprehend every
unauthorized entrant.
- Additionally, our
legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and
surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number
of agents at and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower
the number of successful illegal border crossings while continuing to
facilitate commerce.
- We will strengthen
prohibitions against racial profiling and inappropriate use of force, enhance
the training of border patrol agents, increase oversight, and create a
mechanism to ensure a meaningful opportunity for border communities to share
input, including critiques.
- Our legislation will
require the completion of an entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons
entering the
United States on temporary visas via airports and seaports have
left the country as required by law.
- We recognize that
Americans living along the Southwest border are key to recognizing and
understanding when the border is truly secure. Our legislation will create a
commission comprised of governors, attorneys general, and community leaders
living along the Southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our
border and to make a recommendation regarding when the bill’s security measures
outlined in the legislation are completed.

- While these security
measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who
came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the
government. This will include passing a background check and settling their
debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary
legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the
United States
. Individuals with a serious criminal background or
others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal
status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed
serious crimes face immediate deportation.- We will demonstrate our commitment to securing our
borders and combating visa overstays by requiring our proposed enforcement
measures be complete before any immigrant on probationary status can earn a
green card.
- Current restrictions
preventing non-immigrants from accessing federal public benefits will also
apply to lawful probationary immigrants.
- Once the enforcement
measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will
be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an
additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a
history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other
requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent
residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can
eventually earn a green card.

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-         
Individuals
who are present without lawful status - not including people within the two
categories identified below - will only receive a green card after every
individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this
legislation is enacted, has received their green card. Our purpose is to ensure
that no one who has violated
America
’s immigration laws will receive preferential
treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied with the law.
- Our legislation also
recognizes that the circumstances and the conduct of people without lawful
status are not the same, and cannot be addressed identically.
For instance, individuals who entered the
United States
as minor children did not knowingly choose to
violate any immigration laws. Consequently, under our proposal these
individuals will not face the same requirements as other individuals in order
to earn a path to citizenship.
Similarly, individuals who have been working without legal status in the United
States agricultural industry have been performing very important and difficult
work to maintain America’s food supply while earning subsistence wages. Due to
the utmost importance in our nation maintaining the safety of its food supply,
agricultural workers who commit to the long term stability of our nation’s
agricultural industries will be treated differently than the rest of the
undocumented population because of the role they play in ensuring that Americans
have safe and secure agricultural products to sell and consume. These
individuals will earn a path to citizenship through a different process under
our new agricultural worker program.



 

-         
2. Improving our Legal Immigration System and Attracting the World’s Best
and Brightest


The development of a rational legal immigration system is essential to ensuring
America’s future economic prosperity. Our failure to act is
perpetuating a broken system which sadly discourages the world’s best and
brightest citizens from coming to the United States and remaining in our
country to contribute to our economy. This failure makes a legal path to entry
in the United States insurmountably difficult for well-meaning immigrants. This
unarguably discourages innovation and economic growth. It has also created
substantial visa backlogs which force families to live apart, which
incentivizes illegal immigration.-
Our new immigration system must be more focused on recognizing the important
characteristics which will help build the American economy and strengthen
American families. Additionally, we must reduce backlogs in the family and
employment visa categories so that future immigrants view our future legal
immigration system as the exclusive means for entry into the United States.
- The United States
must do a better job of attracting and keeping the world’s best and brightest.
As such, our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who
have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or
math from an American university. It makes no sense to educate the world’s
future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our
country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy.

 

-         


3. Strong Employment Verification

-         
- We recognize
that undocumented immigrants come to the
United States
almost exclusively for jobs. As such, dramatically
reducing future illegal immigration can only be achieved by developing a tough,
fair, effective and mandatory employment verification system. An employment
verification system must hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring
undocumented workers and make it more difficult for unauthorized immigrants to
falsify documents to obtain employment. Employers who knowingly hire
unauthorized workers must face stiff fines and criminal penalties for egregious
offenses.
- We believe the
federal government must provide U.S. employers with a fast and reliable method
to confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the United
States. This is essential to ensure the effective enforcement of immigration
laws.
- Our proposal will
create an effective employment verification system which prevents identity
theft and ends the hiring of future unauthorized workers. We believe requiring
prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through
non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment, is essential to
an employee verification system; and,
- The employee
verification system in our proposal will be crafted with procedural safeguards
to protect American workers, prevent identity theft, and provide due process
protections.



 

-         
4. Admitting New Workers and Protecting Workers’ Rights


- The overwhelming
majority of the 327,000 illegal entrants apprehended by CBP in FY2011 were
seeking employment in the
United States. We recognize that to prevent future waves of
illegal immigration a humane and effective system needs to be created for these
immigrant workers to enter the country and find employment without seeking the
aid of human traffickers or drug cartels.
- Our proposal will
provide businesses with the ability to hire lower-skilled workers in a timely
manner when Americans are unavailable or unwilling to fill those jobs.
Our legislation would:
- Allow employers to
hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in
recruiting an American to fill an open position and the hiring of an immigrant
will not displace American workers;
- Create a workable
program to meet the needs of America’s agricultural industry, including dairy
to find agricultural workers when American workers are not available to fill
open positions;
- Allow more
lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs, and
fewer when our economy is not creating jobs;
- Protect workers by
ensuring strong labor protections; and,
- Permit workers who
have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over many
years to earn green cards.



Americana Law Group, APC is a full-service immigration law firm, which provides personalized legal services for all individuals who long to call America home.   The current climate presents challenges for individuals who desire to make the United States their home.  Tough laws enacted post 9/11 in the name of national security, including the REAL ID Act of 2005, have resulted in more stringent standards for citizenship, work opportunities, and visas of all types.

Americana Law Group, APC has years of experience representing clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review as well as successfully appealing unfavorable decisions before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

With two offices in Los Angeles, California, Americana Law Group, APC is a worldwide immigration law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients.  Our reputation speaks for itself and is built on the foundation of long-standing relationships built on trust. We serve immigrants from Mexico and other Latin countries, Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, Central and South Asia, Africa or anywhere across the globe.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Attorney Connie Isais, call (877) 287-8472


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