Friday, June 28, 2013

Senate passes historic immigration reform — but will the House follow? - The Week

Read - Senate passes historic immigration reform — but will the House follow? - The Week


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he Senate voted on Thursday to approve the most sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration system in a generation, sending a wide-ranging bill on to the House, where it faces a far less certain future.
By a vote of 68-32, the Senate approved the so-called Gang of Eight's massive reform bill, which would offer undocumented workers living in the U.S. with a pathway to citizenship, and impose tough new border security measures.
The centerpiece of the bill is a provision that would allow the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. to apply for citizenship after meeting certain benchmarks over a 13-year period. Citizenship applicants would need to pass background checks, pay back taxes and fees and, after 10 years, finally be available to apply for green cards. After three years with green cards, those immigrants could then become citizens.
The bill would also expand the number of temporary visas to high-skilled workers; update the nation's system for verifying workers' legal status; and double the number of border enforcement agents while building 700 miles of additional fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
It is the citizenship provision that proved most thorny in Senate discussions, and that could ultimately down the bill in the House. Many conservative members of Congress have balked outright at any bill that contains what they say amounts to amnesty for illegal immigrants.
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