Of the four Democratic and four Republican senators who wrote the immigration reform proposal now in Congress, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has taken on the starring role as the most aggressive salesman for the 884-page bill.
On one recent Sunday, he appeared on seven national talk shows — five in English, two in Spanish. So omnipresent has he been in defending the draft he helped write, that at times he seems to be fronting the bill for both parties, not just his own.
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IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL — KEY ELEMENTS
- Green cards, citizenship: Most of the 11 million undocumented could apply for a green card after 10 years and citizenship three years after that. Applicants must pay $2,000 in fines and back taxes, learn English, remain employed and pass a criminal background check.
- Arrival date: Immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2012.
- Dream Act: Dream Act youth can obtain green cards in five years and citizenship immediately thereafter.
- Borders: The Department of Homeland Security will receive $3 billion to improve border security through surveillance drones and 3,500 additional customs agents; $1.5 billion for fencing.
- Enforcement: Within five years, DHS must achieve 100 percent surveillance of the southwest border with Mexico and catch 90 percent of people trying to cross illegally in high-risk sectors.
- E-verify: U.S. companies must implement the “E-verify” computer tracking system to confirm that workers are legal. All non-citizens will be required to show “biometric work authorization card” or “biometric green card.”
Family visa program
- Relatives: Allows unlimited visas per year for foreign spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.
- Skills: Eighteen months after the law takes effect, eliminates visas reserved for foreign brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and married children over 30. Creates new merit-based visa category using point system based on family ties and work skills.