_A new worker program. This variation on a guest worker program would allow low-skilled people to get jobs here when U.S. workers could not be found to fill a needed job. These employees would be able to change jobs and travel and eventually get on a path to citizenship. The worker visa would be valid for three years and renewable once.
This provision is likely to draw fire from those who favor a temporary worker program, under which guest workers would not be able to remain here indefinitely. A group of Republican senators have been working with the White House on their own bill that is expected to include a guest worker program, but not one that would lead to permanent residency.
_A legalization plan. Illegal immigrants who pay a fine and pass background checks would be eligible for a conditional status and could work and travel for six years. If during that time they learned English, stayed employed, had clean criminal records, paid fines and back taxes, the immigrants would be eligible for legal status.
This plan also includes a requirement that the undocumented immigrants leave the country and reenters legally. It's not clear from the summary available exactly how that would work.
Such a provision will likely engender opposition from immigration advocates who would see that as an impediment to some of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants coming forward. But it could make such a plan more palatable to those who say any legalization plan amounts to an amnesty.
_Employer verification. Employers would have to verify that the people they hire are legally entitled to work in the U.S. The new system would eventually apply to all employees and all new hires and would be implemented in phases. Penalties would be increased for employers who don't comply with the verification system.
Both sides in the immigration debate have been calling for such a provision.
_Agriculture. The AgJobs legislation introduced in the House and Senate would be included. This would give a path to legalization and citizenship to an estimated 5 million agriculture workers.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., have been especially pushing this provision. Feinstein has said she would prefer to start with this plan instead of a broader overall bill.
_Education. This provision would allow illegal immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition and also remove current barriers to their getting a higher education and to working.
This proposal has had strong bipartisan support in past congresses.
_Border security. More border enforcement personnel would be hired and increased technology used to secure the U.S./Mexico border. A North American security perimeter would be established in coordination with Mexico.
Immigration2007a · Tue, 03/20/2007 - 18:40 · Importance: 4