The bi-partisan immigration reform plan from the gang of 8 sounds like “amnesty” to me:
* While these security measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States. Individuals with a serious criminal background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes face immediate deportation.
* Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.
Minor children who entered the country with their parents won’t face those hurdles, so this essentially includes the DREAM act. Those who entered the country to work as migrant farm labor have a special agricultural worker program, which isn’t detailed in the proposal but is apparently less stringent.
The first participant to take a match to this thing in last year’s Republican Presidental Debates would have been given a ten minute standing ovation. It’s got a lot of tough enforcement talk, but as far as I can tell, it’s essentially what the Democrats have wanted all along. I can’t believe it will pass the House.