New senate and administration proposals have been recently announced by a bipartisan group of senators and President Obama. The senator’s proposal would include a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants contingent on securing the border and combating visa overstays; a “fast and reliable” employment verification system provided by the federal government; reform of the immigration system; and an expanded guest worker program for lower-skilled workers for jobs unfilled by citizens.
President Obama announced his plan on Jan. 29 in Las Vegas and it seems his key principles are substantially similar to the senators’ plan proposed the day before. The President’s plan, for example, includes a five-year timeframe for phasing in an employment verification system “using federal government databases.” However, the President’s plan includes significantly increased penalties for employers that hire undocumented workers and creates a “labor law enforcement fund.” The senators’ plan would allow undocumented workers a pathway to citizenship only after border security measures were complete, and create a commission of leaders on the southwest border to signal when such measures were complete.
ASA supports clear, sensible reform of the immigration system.