Monday, January 28

Senate Immigration Reform Proposal (part III)

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A bi-partisan group of 8 Senators has reportedly agreed upon the basic frame work for Immigration Reform. 
Democrat Senators Dick Durbin, Charles Schumer Bob Menendez and Michael Bennet have been joined by Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Linsay Graham, Jeff Flake and John McCain in support of the proposal.
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                              2. Improving our Legal Immigration System and Attracting the World's Best and Brightest 

- The development of a rational legal immigration system is essential to ensuring America's future economic prosperity. Our failure to act is perpetuating a broken system which sadly discourages the world's best and brightest citizens from coming to the United States and remaining in our country to contribute to our economy. This failure makes a legal path to entry in the United States insurmountably difficult for well-meaning immigrants. This unarguably discourages innovation and economic growth. It has also created substantial visa backlogs which force families to live apart, which incentivizes illegal immigration.
- Our new immigration system must be more focused on recognizing the important characteristics which will help build the American economy and strengthen American families. Additionally, we must reduce backlogs in the family and employment visa categories so that future immigrants view our future legal immigration system as the exclusive means for entry into the United States.
- The United States must do a better job of attracting and keeping the world's best and brightest. As such, our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master's degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university. It makes no sense to educate the world's future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy.
3. Strong Employment Verification
- We recognize that undocumented immigrants come to the United States almost exclusively for jobs. As such, dramatically reducing future illegal immigration can only be achieved by developing a tough, fair, effective and mandatory employment verification system. An employment verification system must hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring undocumented workers and make it more difficult for unauthorized immigrants to falsify documents to obtain employment. Employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers must face stiff fines and criminal penalties for egregious offenses.
- We believe the federal government must provide U.S. employers with a fast and reliable method to confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States. This is essential to ensure the effective enforcement of immigration laws.
- Our proposal will create an effective employment verification system which prevents identity theft and ends the hiring of future unauthorized workers. We believe requiring prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment, is essential to an employee verification system; and,
- The employee verification system in our proposal will be crafted with procedural safeguards to protect American workers, prevent identity theft, and provide due process protections.
4. Admitting New Workers and Protecting Workers' Rights
- The overwhelming majority of the 327,000 illegal entrants apprehended by CBP in FY2011 were seeking employment in the United States. We recognize that to prevent future waves of illegal immigration a humane and effective system needs to be created for these immigrant workers to enter the country and find employment without seeking the aid of human traffickers or drug cartels.
- Our proposal will provide businesses with the ability to hire lower-skilled workers in a timely manner when Americans are unavailable or unwilling to fill those jobs.
Our legislation would:
- Allow employers to hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position and the hiring of an immigrant will not displace American workers;
- Create a workable program to meet the needs of America's agricultural industry, including dairy to find agricultural workers when American workers are not available to fill open positions;
- Allow more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs, and fewer when our economy is not creating jobs;
- Protect workers by ensuring strong labor protections; and,
- Permit workers who have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over many years to earn green cards.

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