A bipartisan group of Senators, known as the "Gang of 8" introduced a comprehensive immigration reform proposal in the U.S. Senate early this morning.
The bill is entitled ''.Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" (S. 744). In Spanish would be: ''Seguridad Fronteriza, Oportunidad Económica, y Ley de Modernización de Inmigración''.
The 844-page document, if passed, would affect millions of people. For example, the bill would create Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, which could allow people who have lived in the United States since before January 1, 2012 to obtain long-term permanent residency in the United States.
The bill would also eliminate certain legal mechanisms for obtaining permanent residency, including the Diversity Visa Program, known as the "Visa Lottery," and immigrant visas for siblings of U.S. citizens.
The "Gang of 8" includes four Democratic and four Republican senators. The Democrats are Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The Republicans are John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
The bill will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where hearings will be held this Friday, April 19, and Monday, April 22, at 10 a.m. During the hearings, the review process of the bill will begin. Any senator within this Judiciary Committee (which is composed of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans) will be able to propose amendments to the bill.
If the bill gets a majority vote in committee, it then moves to the full Senate. At that point, Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will have to agree on the rules that will govern debate on the bill.
There is already talk that there will almost certainly be opposition to this bill and that some senators will do their best to block it, which is called a filibuster. This means that 60 votes will be needed to end the debate and move to a final vote.
I have begun to analyze the immigration reform bill. As soon as I finish doing so, I will update my blog with the most complete information and explanation on each section of the bill.
It is difficult to estimate whether this bill will be passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. It is of utmost importance that you consult with an immigration attorney or a federally accredited representative to resolve any immigration concerns.