- Jul 11, 2003
This will likely be as ugly as Health Insurance reform.
President Barack Obama, facing criticism from advocates of immigration reform, pledged Thursday "to do everything in my power" to get immigration legislation moving in Congress this year.
Obama said work on an immigration bill should move forward based on an outline released Thursday by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
"A critical next step will be to translate their framework into a legislative proposal, and for Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity," Obama said.
The outline calls for illegal immigrants to admit they broke the law, pay a fine and back taxes, and perform community service if they want to get on a pathway to legal status. They would also be required to pass background checks and be proficient in English.
"I congratulate Sens. Schumer and Graham for their leadership, and pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year on this important issue so we can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said.
Other parts of the Schumer-Graham outline include:
Giving legal permanent residence to people who graduate with doctoral or master's degrees from U.S. universities.
Adopting zero tolerance for illegal immigrants who commit crimes and expanding enforcement of immigration laws.
Creating a flexible legal immigration system that brings in more low-skilled workers when jobs are available and fewer in a recession.
Requiring all U.S. workers citizens and legal immigrants to get fraud-proof Social Security cards with a biometric identifier.