Key Bipartisan Group of Senators Agree to Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform


Eight influential U.S. Senators have agreed to a “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform”establishing a broad but vague basis of agreement as regards a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Immigration reform appears to be President Obama’s top legislative priority for the beginning of his second term. The President will announce his plan on January 29, and House Majority leader John Boehner has indicated that the House will put forth its own bill.

The “Gang of Eight” framework is based on four “Legislative Pillars”

o Creating a “tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants”, including a temporary residence on paying a fine and back taxes, and then a place at the end of the current green card waiting line;

o Focusing greater efforts on attracting and retaining foreign workers with advanced degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, characteristics, and reducing backlogs in the family and employment visa categories.

o “[R]equiring prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment”; and

o Establishing a guest worker plan to be invoked employers demonstrate unavailability of US workers and in the agricultural sector, and to vary guest worker visa numbers dependent on economic conditions.

The Senators signing on to the Framework document include Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Florida, Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The group appears to be targeting March 2013 for introduction of a complete bill.