Gang of 8 Senators McCain (R-Ariz) and Schumer (D-NY) said today that getting 70 votes in the Senate in favor of the immigration bill was “very doable.”
The minimum for the bill to pass in the Senate is 60 votes. However, the Gang of 8 Senators believe that getting a strong majority of 70 votes would help the bill’s chances of passing in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Their comments were made at a Christian Science Monitor-hosted breakfast this morning during which the two Senators discussed the likelihood of the immigration bill’s success and the importance of a large comprehensive immigration reform bill instead of smaller ones:
“What we found, and it might be counter-intuitive, is that the best way to pass immigration legislation is a comprehensive bill because that can achieve more [political] balance. Everyone gets much, but not all, of what they want. The idea of doing separate bills is just not going to work,” Schumer said.
The Gang of 8’s bipartisan comprehensive approach includes the following main points:
- An Increase of Border Security
- A Path to lawful permanent residency
- Fees for unlawful presence
- A Blue Card for Agricultural workers
The priority of the bill is to create strict methods of border security. The bill calls for a budget of $3 billion. This would include a fence, a larger staff and Department of Defense-technology like drones.
After the border security goals are met, the bill calls for a path to lawful permanent residency for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before December 31, 2011. There would be a series of eligibility requirements including having a clean record and paying fees and taxes.
Undocumented immigrants seeking legalization would have to pay a penalty of $500, unless the applicant is a DREAMer, which according to the bill is someone who came to the U.S. before the age of 15. DREAMers do not have to pay the fees.
The Blue Card for agricultural workers would be available to those who have worked in the U.S. for at least 100 days between December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2012. This would legalize eligible agricultural workers and make them eligible for permanent residency after a period of time.
More on Immigration Reform:
- Immigration Reform 2013
- Gang of 8
- Earned Citizenship
- Streamlining Immigration
- Strengthening Border Security
- More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants