Jan. 30—Under a new national immigration reform proposal, undocumented immigrants could earn provisional legal status but would not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new healthcare law. President Barack Obama unveiled his reform proposal in a speech in Las Vegas this week as a way to tackle the issue of 11 million undocumented immigrants living within U.S. borders.
To attain provisional legal status—a new categorization—undocumented immigrants would have to register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties before they would become eligible. Those attaining the status would wait until existing legal immigration backlogs were cleared before being able to apply for lawful permanent resident and, eventually, citizenship.
The overall reform plan has four parts:
- Continuing to strengthen border security
- Cracking down on employers hiring undocumented workers
- Earned citizenship, in which provisional legal status plays a part
- Streamlining legal immigration
Meanwhile, a day before the president’s announcement, a bipartisan group of senators released a rough outline of a comprehensive immigration reform effort that has not yet been crafted into legislation, according to a Reuters article. That plan seems to have an approach to provisional legal status similar to President Obama’s proposal.
A bipartisan group in the House also is close to announcing its own immigration proposals, according to an unnamed congressional source, the Reuters release said.
President Obama recognized those efforts in his speech Tuesday, saying, “The good news is that—for the first time in many years—Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together.”
Publication Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2013