What's In the Senate Immigration Deal?

A look at major provisions of the bipartisan immigration compromise:


Current Illegal Immigrants

  • Allow undocumented immigrants to come forward immediately and receive probationary legal status.
  • Create a four-year, renewable "Z" visa for those present within the U.S. unlawfully before Jan. 1, 2007.
  • Allow undocumented immigrants to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence after they pay $5,000 in fees and fines and their head of household returns to their home country.
  • Let people under age 30, who were brought to the U.S. as minors, receive their green cards after three years, rather than eight.
  • Allow undocumented farm workers to apply for green cards if they can demonstrate they have worked 150 hours or three years in agriculture.
  • Withhold processing of green cards for "Z" visa holders until "triggers" for border security and workplace enforcement are met, estimated to take 18 months. The processing of green cards for holders of "Z" visas would begin after clearing an existing backlog, which is expected to take eight years.

Border Security

  • Hire 18,000 new border patrol agents.
  • Erect 200 miles of vehicle barriers and 370 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Erect 70 ground-based radar and camera towers along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
  • Deploy four unmanned aerial vehicles and supporting systems.
  • End the program in which illegal immigrants are released upon apprehension.
  • Provide for detaining up to 27,500 aliens per day on an annual basis.
  • Use secure and effective identification tools to prevent unauthorized work.

Workplace Enforcement

  • Require employers to use an electronic database to verify the identity of new employees and their work eligibility.
  • Increase penalties for unlawful hiring, employment and record-keeping violations.

Guest-Worker Program

The following provisions would not take effect until after border security measures are in place:

  • Create a new, temporary guest-worker program with two-year "Y visas," initially capped at 400,000 per year, with annual adjustments based on market fluctuations.
  • Workers could renew the Y visa up to three times, but would be required to return home for a year in between each renewal. Those bringing dependents could obtain only one, nonrenewable two-year visa.
  • Families could accompany guest workers only if they could show proof of medical insurance and demonstrate that their wages were 150 percent above the poverty level.

Future Immigrants

  • Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents would be eligible for green cards based purely on their family connections, but other relatives such as adult children and siblings would not.
  • 380,000 visas a year would be awarded based on a point system, with about 50 percent of the points based on employment criteria, 25 percent based on education, 15 percent on English proficiency and 10 percent on family connections.
  • Apply new limits to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.
  • Visas for parents of U.S. citizens would be capped annually at 40,000 and those for spouses and children at 87,000.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



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