5 things you need to know about the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, April 16, 2013

The bipartisan Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ introduced their much-anticipated comprehensive immigration reform legislation Tuesday morning.

The group, which includes Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.), as well as Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), and Michael Bennet (Co.)., had planned a press conference for Tuesday afternoon, however they decided to postpone it in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings Monday.

Here’s what you need to know about the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill:

1. It will include a three-part law enforcement scheme to determine if one is in the country illegally or not.

The parts of the scheme include a universal E-Verify system for employment purposes, an entry and exit system at all airports and seaports that tracks visa holders to make sure they don’t overstay their welcome, and increased border security that includes surveillance of the entire American border.

2. It will require illegals already in the country to complete certain requirements before they can start the process.

The requirements outlined in the bill include passing a background check, allowing the federal government to fingerprint them, paying back taxes and a hefty fine and proving that they have been in the country illegally since December 2011.

3. It will require the Department of Homeland Security to issue a “notice of commencement” confirming that the agency has prepared a plan for border security.

The DHS will need to prove that their commencement plan, which will likely include building new fences and adding additional border surveillance, meets certain requirements outlined in the legislation. The department must also prove that it has the funding to being implementing the plan, and that it can complete the process within the next five years.

Only then can an illegal immigrant who has already completed the requirements listed above begin applying for legal status.

4. It will require that illegal immigrants who’ve completed the preliminary requirements outlined above reapply for legal status twice.

The immigrants – who will be known in the system as Restricted Provisional Immigrants (RPI) – must reapply for legal status six years after they were originally granted it. During the second application process, RPIs must pay an additional fine and prove that they have not been convicted of any crime and that they have been gainfully employed in the U.S. during that time.

5. It will require that illegal immigrants can only apply for a green card after meeting the government’s requirements for residency more than 10 years.

During that time, the RPIs will not receive federal benefits, including coverage under Obamacare. They can also apply for citizenship three years later if they meet the preliminary requirements to qualify.

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