An official 844-page immigration bill was filed by the Senate around 2 a.m. on April 17. Senators anticipate months of debate over the new policies, which include increased border security and provisional status for immigrants. This means that immigrants would legally be allowed to work in the country, but wouldn’t be able to take part in federal benefits like welfare or healthcare. After 10 years, they could seek green cards to achieve official legal status.
This policy change has been in the works for months among the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” led in part by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL.). He has spoken confidently of the new bill, and said he is certain that it will curb the number of immigrants who enter the country illegally.
“This bill marks the beginning of an important debate,” Rubio said, according to Fox News. “And I believe it will fix our broken system by securing our borders, improving interior enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration to help create jobs and protect American workers, and dealing with our undocumented population in a tough but humane way that is fair to those trying to come here the right way and linked to achieving several security triggers.”
The bill is divided into four sections: border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement and workplace programs. The bill states that illegal immigration has become a threat to the country’s security, and the new laws will help the economy and the overall ethics of the United States.
In the introduction to the bill, the legislation talks about how these new standards will help enforce a better way of life while still continuing to let immigrants join the country lawfully.
“We have always welcomed newcomers to the United States and will continue to do so,” the introduction reads. “But in order to qualify for the honor and privilege of eventual citizenship, our laws must be followed.”