April 13th, 2013
01:09 PM ET
2 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. Sharon Mahart

    I thought we were going to secure the borders immediately after 9/11? It's 11 1/2 years later, and we're still only "assessing" it? I'm starting to think some of the rhetoric we're being fed about the "national security" we're trading our freedom for might not be everything our government (and the lapdog media) is pretending it is.

    April 13, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Breeze

    And they think any of them will tell the truth? LMAO!

    April 13, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. FoolforObama

    One day Obama will be regarded as greater than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln combined

    April 13, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Tom98005

    What about Legal immigrants ?. There are a lot of companies keep the legal immigrants in US and do not file their GC. This way they can utilize them as cheap labor. I personally know legal workers in US for the last 5-10 years. Their companies want to take away the american jobs but wont give them a chance to settle.

    April 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. awshucks

    I think this is a good start.

    To the point of 'amnesty' for all the illegals before December 2011, well we can only walk this back so far...It has to start somewhere.

    April 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Insight

    Thousands of law abiding legal immigrant's unmarried children were denied visa to come to USA due to the reason that they were over twenty one years of age when the visa was issued for the rest of the family members. Hope the gang of Eight are not disregarding the woes of the legal immigrants.

    April 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. toydrum

    For those that have come as economic immigrants, maybe we should also add a requirement that if you become a permanent resident but don't make the effort to become a citizen (taking citizenship classes and demonstrating an acceptable level of English), within a reasonable amount of time, you lose your permanent residency status and can get back in line for guest worker status.

    And I don't mean just for the current illegal immigrants, I mean anyone that comes here to make money and raise a family but can't be bothered to invest themselves fully in the duties of citizenship such as jury duty and voting. If you truly want to be here, be here completely.

    April 13, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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