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Resources on the foreign policy dimensions of the presidential transition

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Bipartisan Framework and Legislation for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Published January 28, 2013

A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators proposed a framework for immigration reform released January 28, 2013 and President Obama outlined his plan for reform in a speech on January 29, 2013. Both plans include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and tightened border security. On April 16, 2013, S. 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act was proposed and an outline is available on Senator McCain's website.

Excerpt from the immigration reform framework (PDF):

"We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don't have a functioning immigration system. This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.

Four Basic Legislative Pillars:

1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;

2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,

4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation's workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers."

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