Obama 2013 amnesty draft: green card after 8 years; "Lawful Prospective Immigrant"

USA Today was given a copy of a draft immigration "reform" (aka amnesty) bill from the Obama administration ( peekURL.com/zW8CSMp ). It sounds much the same as the other amnesty bills, even borrowing the name for the visa it would give to almost all illegal aliens from an earlier amnesty.

Under the bill, illegal aliens could apply for a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" ("LPI") visa that would let them stay in the U.S. After eight years, they could then apply for "Lawful Permanent Residence" ("LPR") status, aka a Green Card, aka the "path to citizenship".

The LPI status was part of a 2010 amnesty from Charles Schumer, Harry Reid, and Bob Menendez. Schumer and Menendez are now part of the Senate "Gang of Eight" who are coming up with their own plan.

Other not-entirely-new ideas include:

According to the White House draft, people would need to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees to qualify for the new visa. If approved, they would be allowed to legally reside in the U.S., work and leave the country for short periods of time.

Illegal immigrants would be disqualified from the program if they were convicted of a crime that led to a prison term of at least one year, three or more different crimes that resulted in a total of 90 days in jail, or if they committed any offense abroad that "if committed in the United States would render the alien inadmissible or removable from the United States."

People currently in federal custody or facing deportation proceedings also could be allowed to apply for the Lawful Prospective Immigrant visa. Application forms and instructions would be provided in "the most common languages spoken by persons in the United States," but the application and all supporting evidence submitted to the federal government would have to be in English.

They would also be given a new identification card to show as proof of their legal status in the country.

The immigrants could then apply for legal permanent residence, commonly known as a green card, within eight years if they learn English and "the history and government of the United States" and pay back taxes. That would then clear the path for them to apply for U.S. citizenship.

To combat fraud, the draft proposes a new Social Security card be developed that is "fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant and wear-resistant." The Social Security Administration would be required to issue the new cards within two years.

...The bill calls for an unspecified increase in the Border Patrol, allows the Department of Homeland Security to expand technological improvements along the border and adds 140 new immigration judges to process the heavy flow of people who violate immigration laws.

It also orders U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to study whether a land-border crossing fee should be implemented to help offset border security costs. The draft also proposes raising many inspection fees that border-crossers already pay.

The draft bill proposes a new plan to allow Homeland Security to "accept donations" from citizens, businesses and local and state governments to improve ports of entry and security features along the border. And it would require CBP to begin collecting statistics on deaths along the border and report them quarterly.

The draft also expands the E-Verify program that checks the immigration status of people seeking new jobs. Businesses with more than 1,000 employees must begin using the system within two years, businesses with more than 250 employees within three years and all businesses within four years.

Homeland Security, working with the U.S. departments of Labor and Agriculture, the attorney general and other agencies, would engage in a $40 million-a-year program to educate business owners and workers about the program.

Homeland Security also would be required to submit a report within 18 months showing how the worker verification system is working, and specifically explain how it is affecting the nation's agriculture industry, which relies heavily on illegal immigrant workers.

The draft obtained by USA TODAY does not include sections that would alter the nation's legal immigration system to adjust the future flow of legal immigrants, which is expected to be a critical component of any immigration overhaul.

See comprehensive immigration reform for a general discussion of the many downsides of amnesty.

If you want to oppose amnesty - whether of the "liberal" variety described above or the "conservative" variety espoused by Marco Rubio - simply follow my lead and help out. See the links in the sidebar to the right.