New immigration reform bill has bipartisan support - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New immigration reform bill has bipartisan support


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- It's an important first step.  Key Democratic and Republican senators are pledging to get a wide-ranging immigration bill through the Senate by summer.

The group of eight senators unveiled proposals Monday to secure the border, allow more guest workers, require tougher verification measures by employers, and create a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

Overall, the reaction to a bipartisan immigration reform plan is generally favorable, from Latino advocacy groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and organized Labor.  However, supporters of immigration reform have their concerns.

The head of the AFL-CIO questions a proposal requiring illegal immigrants to provide proof of employment before gaining legal status.  Richard Trumka says it could exclude millions of workers who can't provide proof, because they've been forced to work "off the clock" or they are independent contractors.

The plan does include a path to citizenship for those who are already in the States illegally.  Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza says that path must be one that is workable.  It can't be "so rigorous that those seeking to apply would not be able to get there."

The plan also includes border security, a guest worker system and employer verification.  The American Civil Liberties Union is taking issue with a proposal to require employers to use an electronic system to verify employment.  They call it a "thinly-disguised national ID requirement."

The White House is praising the Senate immigration plan, calling it a "positive" development.

President Obama will travel to Nevada Tuesday to lay out his vision, which is expected to overlap with the Senate effort.

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