Momentum Builds for U.S. Immigration Reform Plan

Will Dunham, Chicago Tribune, November 11, 2012

Two U.S. senators launched a fresh move to put together a bipartisan immigration reform plan on Sunday, restarting talks on a proposal that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

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Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said he and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham have agreed to resume talks on immigration reform that broke off two years ago.

“And I think we have a darned good chance using this blueprint to get something done this year. The Republican Party has learned that being … anti-immigrant doesn’t work for them politically. And they know it,” Schumer said.

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Speaking on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” Graham said the tone and rhetoric used by members of his party on immigration “built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community.”

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The Graham and Schumer plan has four components: requiring high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; strengthening border security and enforcement of immigration laws; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a path to legal status for immigrants already in the country.

Schumer said the plan embraces “a path to citizenship that’s fair, which says you have to learn English, you have to go to the back of the line, you’ve got to have a job, and you can’t commit crimes.”

Graham added, “Sixty-five percent of the people in the exit poll of this election supported a pathway to citizenship.”

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The Obama administration announced in June it would relax U.S. deportation rules so that many young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children can stay and work. The change would allow illegal immigrants who, among other criteria, are younger than 30 years old and have not been convicted of a felony to apply for work permits.

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