A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA TODAY would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years…
According to the White House draft, people would need to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees to qualify for the new visa. If approved, they would be allowed to legally reside in the U.S. for four years, work and leave the country for short periods of time. After the four years, they could then reapply for an extension…
The immigrants could then apply for legal permanent residence, commonly known as a green card, within eight years if they learn English and “the history and government of the United States” and pay back taxes. That would then clear the path for them to apply for U.S. citizenship…
The draft obtained by USA TODAY does not include sections that would alter the nation’s legal immigration system to adjust the future flow of legal immigrants, which is expected to be a critical component of any immigration overhaul.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding new details about President Obama’s immigration plan, as first reported by USA Today:
“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress. President Obama’s leaked immigration proposal is disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution. The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation. It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders, creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally, and does nothing to address guest workers or future flow, which serious immigration experts agree is critical to preventing future influxes of illegal immigrants.
“Much like the President’s self-described ‘stop gap’ Deferred Action measure last year, this legislation is half-baked and seriously flawed. It would actually make our immigration problems worse, and would further undermine the American people’s confidence in Washington’s ability to enforce our immigration laws and reform our broken immigration system.
“If actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come.”
“This is the president torpedoing his own plan. It shows me that he’s really not serious,” Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“There are many people who think Democrats bring up these ideas as wedge issues, they don’t really ever want to pass them because then they would no longer have the Republicans to blame. They set themselves up for failure by putting something up there that’s untenable.
“It seems to me to show that really the president doesn’t want immigration reform.”
This morning, Representative Paul Ryan had no kind words for the president’s proposed immigration legislation and the White House’s decision to leak it yesterday. He explained that “leaking this out sets things in the wrong direction,” “makes [immigration reform] that much more difficult.”
The congressman laid out his criticism in blunt terms, saying that the question from the beginning on this immigration debate has been, “Is the president looking for partisan advantage, or a bipartisan law?” The White House’s release of its own plan at this time, Ryan said, is a clear indication that the president is doing the former, “looking for partisan advantage,” which is “counterproductive” for actual efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system.
Schumer, a New York Democrat and a close ally to the White House, said he has not seen the draft proposals but, along with the Democrats working on a compromise, met with Obama this week to talk about progress being made on Capitol Hill. Schumer acknowledged that a single-party proposal would have a much more difficult time becoming law and urged the bipartisan group of senators to keep meeting to find common ground.
“I am very hopeful that in March we will have a bipartisan bill,” Schumer said. “And, you know, it’s obvious if a Democrat — the president or anyone else — puts out what they want on their own, (it) is going to be different than when you have a bipartisan agreement. But the only way we’re going to get something done is with a bipartisan agreement.”
Denis McDonough, the president’s top White House official, said Mr. Obama’s aides are continuing to work with a bipartisan group of senators despite harsh criticism Saturday night from a key Republican after a newspaper reported what it said were details of the administration’s immigration plan.
“We’ve not proposed anything to Capitol Hill yet,” Mr. McDonough said on ABC’s “This Week” in his first appearance as chief of staff. “We’re just going to be ready. We have developed each of these proposals so we have them in a position so that we can succeed.”…
“He says it’s dead on arrival if proposed?” Mr. McDonough said of Mr. Rubio’s comments. “Well, let’s make sure that it doesn’t have to be proposed, let’s make sure that that group up there, the gang of eight, makes some good progress on these efforts, as much as they say they want to. That’s exactly what we intend to do, to work with them.”