The PJ Tatler

Group of Eight Introduce 844-Page Immigration Reform Bill

After lots of speculation and negotiations, the Group of Eight’s 844-page immigration bill is here.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FLa.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) today introduced S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.

The legislation can be read here. A shorter summary of the bill is available here. An FAQ is available here.

“While I believe this legislation is a strong conservative effort that will accomplish all these things and tries to make the best of the imperfect reality we face, it’s not perfect. But I am also confident that an open and transparent process that welcomes public input is going to make it even better,” Rubio said.

“This debate must engage the American people and every senator through open hearings, mark-ups and floor debate, as well as a robust, well-informed debate outside the walls of Congress through all the mediums available to us today. This kind of open debate will help the American people understand what’s in the bill, what it means for them and what it means for our future.”

The six triggers that would have to be met before illegal immigrants who have been given temp legal status can start applying for green cards are:

– The Department of Homeland Security must create, fund and initiate a border security plan within 6 months of bill’s enactment.

– DHS must create, fund & initiate a border fence plan with 6 months.

– DHS must achieve 100 percent border awareness and at least 90 percent apprehension rates in high risk sectors of the U.S. Mexico border within 5 years of bill’s enactment.

– If DHS fails to achieve #3, a Border Commission of border state officials and stakeholders is required to create & implement a plan to achieve 100 percent border awareness and at least 90 percent apprehension rates in high-risk sectors of the U.S. Mexico border (within 10 years of bill’s enactment).

– Universal Everify must be implemented within 10 years of bill’s enactment.

– Visa exit system must be implemented at all international airports & seaports within 10 years of bill’s enactment.

The triggers have different timeframes. “No undocumented immigrant is eligible to apply for temporary status until the border security and fencing plan is in place,” states the summary. “After being in the temporary status for at least ten years, no currently undocumented immigrant can even attain permanent residence, much less citizenship, unless the border security, employment verification and exit system triggers have been achieved.”

“Once the first security triggers are achieved, undocumented immigrants will be able to come forward, must submit to and pass background checks, be fingerprinted, pay $2,000 in fines, pay taxes, prove gainful employment, prove they’ve had a physical presence in the U.S. since before 2012 and going to the back of the line, among other criteria. Criminals and those who don’t meet these criteria will be deported.”

The first hearing on the bill will be Friday at 10 a.m. before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to testify.