Two leading Republicans have unveiled plans for much stricter controls on the border between the United States and Mexico before they will consider allowing undocumented immigrants to be granted permanent residency under the immigration reform bill that is currently being considered by the Senate.
Second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn and possible 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul came up with two separate amendments that are likely to come under heavy fire from a number of Democrats, who say that the amendments would destroy the path to US citizenship that is at the heart of the immigration reform bill being backed by the White House. Both senators want to establish strict benchmarks to be met in order to allow permanent legal status and a pathway to citizenship to be granted.
“My idea takes border security a step further than anybody else in Congress,” says Paul. His proposal would mean that Congress would be required to come up with a proposal for a border security plan and then take annual votes to determine whether its goals had been successfully achieved. Cornyn wants the government to be able to monitor all areas of the southern border and prevent a minimum of 90% of illegal border crossers.
The full Senate has now begun work on what would be the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in the United States for almost three decades. The new bill would result in the creation of new US visas programs for low- and high-skilled workers and authorize billions of dollars in spending for increased border security.