Immigration Reform 2013: 4 Simple Takeaways From the 844-Page Bill

The Senate has been presented with a new immigration reform bill derived from the compromise of so-called Gang of Eight. At such a time as this, Republicans and Democrats have shown themselves capable of forming a comprehensive plan to overhaul current immigration policy with common-sense tactics. Thus, the provisions of this plan are enveloped in a practicality that makes the realization of immigration reform in this nation bloom on the horizon. It must be noted, though, that no matter how well crafted and sensible these provisions may prove themselves, U.S. immigration policy must be founded on the solid rock of a systematic long-term solution. For the path to immigration recovery to be a successful journey, it is imperative that this proposed bill for immigration reform is considered seriously and methodically by the Senate.

In short, here are some key provisions to the 844-page bill:

1. Securing the border:

The bill requires strict criteria for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by implementing a plan to monitor 100% of the southwest border with Mexico, and turn back 90% of people trying to illegally cross each year. If DHS does not achieve and maintain the specific goals after five years, a new border commission will take control.

2. Path to citizenship:

 

The bill allows illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before December 31, 2011, to apply for temporary legal status. Full amnesty will not be offered this time around. A ten-year waiting period, wrapped with restrictions and fees, will be set in place before full citizenship is granted.

3. Interior enforcement:

 

U.S. business owners will be required to use a program that checks the immigration status of new employees within a 5 year time period to ensure legal hiring status.

4. Immigration overhaul:

 

The bill overhauls the legal immigration system by reducing visas for relatives of U.S. citizens while increasing the number of visas for immigrants who are specialized in high or low skilled jobs.

While the presented bill seems to be the answer to many of the current immigration problems, some senators are concerned that the bill will be passed too quickly and that mistakes from the past will recur. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that "This is not something to be rushed. We have to get this right. Otherwise the goal of the bipartisan group to solve the problem once and for all — will not be met." Gassley also mentioned that "We need to understand how changes in our visa programs will affect businesses and American workers. We need to know how new concepts will be put into practice. And, most importantly, we need to hear from the Congressional Budget Office about the impact this bill will have on taxpayers."

For the path to immigration recovery to be successful, the proposed bill must be taken seriously and meticulously considered by the Senate. U.S. immigration policy must be founded on a cornerstone of a systematic long-term solution. What is the best option for American citizens?