Do Now #75: Immigration Reform – The Path to Citizenship
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Who should be considered for a path to citizenship? Do you agree with the proposed immigration reform bill? What is a fair/equitable approach?
The Gang of Eight, as the eight bipartisan US Senators have been termed, has managed to reach a compromise on immigration reform after months of negotiating. Their immigration reform bill is a trade off between the four Republicans and four Democrats allowing many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants to seek U.S. citizenship, in exchange for way stricter border security standards.
“This is a very balanced bill,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead Democratic negotiator. “The American people have told us to do two things. One, prevent future flows of illegal immigration, and then come up with a common sense solution for legal immigration. And that’s what our bill does.”
The bill also makes changes to how foreigners can legally immigrate to the United States going forward. These changes are intended to make the process easier. However, only immigrants who came to the country before Dec. 31, 2011 can apply. To process the application undocumented immigrants will have to pay $500 plus assessed taxes, as well as processing fees and then it would take 10 years to obtain a green card. Gaining full citizenship would take another three years. Those convicted of serious crimes are not eligible to apply.
Border security is the provision to be traded. CNN reports “There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it,”… “Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent ‘unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States.'”
Employers in Silicon Valley will be allowed more visas each year for high-skilled foreign workers, expanding the number of H1-B visas for high-tech workers from 65,000 to 110,000 per year and creating a new visa category for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the U.S. A new “W-visa” would allow companies to eventually hire as many as 75,000 low-skilled, non-agricultural workers per year – a compromise by big business and organized labor. But employers who hire undocumented workers will be prosecuted.
Young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, would receive a faster path to citizenship. They could apply for a green card within five years of being granted provisional status. Agricultural workers would also face a speedier and less costly path.
This immigration bill bases immigration rights on employment and education skills rather than on the principle of reuniting families. There will be debate and revision in the months ahead, so this is not the end of the story.
PBS NewsHour video Gang of Eight Senators Fine-tune Details of Immigration Reform Bill – April 15, 2013
While supporters of immigration reform rallied on Capitol Hill, a group of eight senators put the finishing touches on legislation to overhaul the current system. Gwen Ifill talks with the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Bennett for an update on what’s in the plan.
To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow
For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.
We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.
PBS NewsHour Extra video Senate Hears Appeal for Immigration Reform – Feb. 15, 2013
“Our immigration system is not just broken; it is hurting our country,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told the Senate’s Judiciary Committee at the first hearing on the new push for comprehensive immigration reform. She pointed out that immigration reform must strive to provide fair employment to not only American workers, but also anyone who comes to work in the United States.
LA Times document 2013 Immigration Reform Bill – April 17, 2013
The LA Times posted the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill document on their website which contains the actual bill, table of contents, and the notes during the session in Congress.
PBS NewsHour Extra video The Two-Sided Immigration Debate – Aug. 2, 2010
Last week, Arizona’s controversial immigration bill–SB 1070–went into effect. However, a last second ruling by a federal judge blocked the most controversial aspects of law, which would have permitted law enforcement to check a person’s immigration status and required all immigrants to prove they are authorized to be in the United States.
KQED’s The Lowdown collection Special Package of Immigration Reform content
A look at America’s evolving immigration system and the people affected by it.
KDOL-TV Media Enterprise Alliance Americans at Heart: The Dream Act – Feb. 24, 2012
The KDOL-TV Video Production class brings you Americans at Heart, a film about the Dream Act, a piece of legislation that impacts thousands of youth here in California and across the country. This film was second prize at BAYMN’s Rise to the Occasion Youth Media Festival.