The plan, said Schumer and Graham, looks at immigration from the standpoint of Americas security and economic well-being. It has four pillars.
First, all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want to work in the United States would be required to carry a national ID card. This would be a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card, the senators said, with a unique biometric identifier for its owner.
Prospective employers would be responsible for swiping the cards through a machine to confirm a persons identity and immigration status, the senators said. Those who refuse to do so or knowingly hire workers lacking proper cards could be fined or jailed.
Second, Schumer and Graham urged an immediate beefing up of Border Patrol cops. This would be combined with an entry-exit system that tracks people who enter the United States on legal visas and reports those who overstay their visas to law enforcement databases. Although the proposal does not say so specifically, this suggests a much wider use of the 287(g) program, which gives local police the authority to act as immigration cops. The program is widely hated by immigrants because it has led to increased deportations based on cops arbitrarily stopping or finding pretext to arrest workers who appear to be from other countries in order to check their papers.
The third pillar would award green cards to immigrants who receive a PhD or masters degree in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. university. The senators said, It makes no sense to educate the worlds future inventors and entrepreneurs and then force them to leave when they are able to contribute to our economy.
But there is no such preferential treatment for those who work in construction, manufacturing, and meatpacking; or as janitors, dishwashers, and maids. These low-skilled immigrants, as the senators scornfully labeled them, will only be allowed in when they are needed. Those who maintain a good record with their employers and the government over many years have a chance to earn a green card.
For those already here and undocumented, the senators offer the fourth pillarthe tough but fair path to a green card. They would be required to admit they broke the law and to pay their debt to society by performing community service and paying fines and back taxes. These people would be required to pass background checks and be proficient in English before going to the back of the line of prospective immigrants to earn the opportunity to work toward lawful permanent residence.
No deportations, no raids! marchers say
More than 100,000 converge on D.C.
Legalize all undocumented!
California farm workers march for legalization
Hundreds at actions buy Workers Power book
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