April 13th, 2013
01:09 PM ET
5 years ago

'Gang of Eight' sets cutoff date for citizenship under immigration deal

Washington (CNN) - Any undocumented immigrant who entered the country after December 31, 2011, will not be eligible for citizenship under terms of the immigration deal set to be unveiled Tuesday by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators, a Senate aide told CNN on Saturday.

Specifics of the program included in the legislation were among the details the eight senators - four Republicans and four Democrats - needed to iron out. Sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN this week the sweeping measure was on track to be unveiled Tuesday.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold their first public hearing on the legislation on Wednesday, followed most likely by committee markups in May and consideration by the full Senate in June, according to the sources.

The measure includes a 13-year path to citizenship that could affect up to roughly 11 million undocumented residents, as well as the creation of a system to assess border security.

- Related: Partisan and generational divides over pathway to citizenship, polls show

The path to citizenship would take 10 years for undocumented workers to get a green card, and then another three years to gain citizenship.

Along the way, undocumented workers would have to pay a fine and back taxes and pass a background check. The size of the fine remains unclear.

No undocumented worker would be eligible for citizenship until the border is considered secure - a key sticking point for conservatives.

To measure border security, a commission would be created with the task of establishing and assessing a set of quantifiable criteria. The commission would be made up of officials named by state and federal leaders.

Several key Senate conservatives, including Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, remained convinced Friday the group's proposal would be tantamount to amnesty for people who initially entered or have illegally remained in the United States.

"It is likely millions of current and future illegal immigrants ... will benefit from this amnesty," he said in a statement.

The "Gang of Eight" includes Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona; Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona; Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

Viewed as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, Rubio will make a full-court press on the issue on Sunday network talk shows, including CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley.

His aides said the round of appearances will not include any announcements, but it should be viewed as his "opening argument" on immigration reform.

Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, have been working on their own immigration overhaul plan.

Details of the House blueprint are not yet available. But Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a key Republican in the House group, told CNN on Thursday that House negotiators have reached an agreement on the major issues, including border security and a pathway to citizenship.

The congressman declined to give any timeline regarding when a House bill would likely be introduced.

- CNN's Candy Crowley and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Name

    Yeah that cut off date is really going to mean something. Lets call this what it is: the Democrat voter growth initiative and re-conquest bill. Welcome to the United States of Mexico!

    April 13, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. ola coola

    legal immigrants follow a legal process from outside. same rule must apply to all illegal immigrants. they must first leave USA and then apply for immigration.

    April 13, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Lionel

    So Republicans are going to be using Rubio and sending him on a speaking tour. Latinos are not going to buy this. As far as Republicans are concerned anyone who does not look like them are illegal and their kids are anchor babies.

    Good luck...

    April 13, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. lobo

    Time to start teaching Spanish in schools.

    April 13, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Steve Lyons

    How can we prove someone that is a recent arrival was NOT in the country before the deadline and prevent them from cheating the rule?

    This is another boneheaded move by Congress.

    April 13, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Raj

    What about legal immigrants who pay taxes and wait for green card for years? Do something for them too!!!

    April 13, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Zobby

    Honestly we shouldn't be doing anything for them other than hauling them back to Mexico.

    April 13, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Sam

    Did I hear that correctly ? The congressman is openly discussing the political fallout, to the point of bringing up the unrelated issue of how black people tend to vote ? The word .. shameful, does not even begin to cover it. Very sad.

    April 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. steve

    Not bad! I don't care, as long as they're productive for society and pay their part.

    April 13, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Jason

    Sounds promising. The part I like the most was the illegals paying capital for being here illegally and background check.

    April 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Ted

    The data shows that hardly any significant number of illegals came to US since Jan. 2012. So this cut off date is meaningless to 11 million known illegals and God knows how many the Feds conceal not to upset the public.

    April 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    I'd prefer 1964 but what can you do

    April 13, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. steve851

    Citizenship is a red herring. They just need green cards. And the border will never be secure, so stop wasting money on that

    April 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Mike Joyner

    Senate aide should have announced that all persons in the United States illegaly are indeed criminals and they will be sought out and deported now. The Senate aide should report that illegal entry into this country is a crime and the crime is most serious . These illegal persons in the United States no matter at what time they arrived will be identified and deported with no chance of American Citizenship and no chance to return to America for any reason.

    April 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. J

    send them all back there r millions that came hear legaly and obayed ours laws when they came hear this is a smack in the face to them if they BROKE the law y reward them send them back to mexico and make sure they STAY there

    April 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. BostonBob

    Let them eat cake... That's really what the gang of 8 is saying to the hard working men and women in American.

    Instead of representing us they are representing big business who wants ever lower labor costs.

    It didn't end well for Marie and the gang of 8 should be worried about being driven out of town on the pointy end of a pitchfork.

    April 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. drwdrw123

    Neither should any of the pre December 2011 ILLEGAL immigrants

    April 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. josebear5

    Good luck the goverment does enforse these laws. How are thay going to find out when thay enter the country? What a joke

    April 13, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. chris

    how are we going to expect these people to pay back taxes. You know that's not going to happen.

    April 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Is this only for illegal entries? or would it also be for people who overstay their visits?

    April 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Dr Veruju

    These people already have a citizenship, that of their respective nations of origin, nations who's governments should be taking responsibility for their citizens but prefer to offload that commitment on to the the United States and its beleaguered taxpaying citizens.
    The proposed legislation is an object lesson in how to destroy all value in US citizenship.
    Stop the nonsense join numbersusa.

    April 13, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Howdoyouknow

    And we will know the date they entered....how...

    April 13, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Greg


    April 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Finally

    The first immigration bill that makes sense.

    April 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Bob R., Maryland

    Am glad Rubio will be on TV, which means I won't miss anything as I do my outside spring chores. So thank you Marco.

    April 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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