Earlier this week heralded the announcement, long-awaited, of potential immigration reform on a comprehensive scale.  The bi-partisan proposal seeks to address the issues faced by the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., coupled with significant enforcement provisions.  The proposed plan addresses five key areas:

  1. To obtain probationary legal status, illegal immigrants would register with the government, undergo background checks, and pay fines and back taxes.  They would then be required to learn English and document their U.S. work history to obtain legal permanent residence.
  2. Border security would increase significantly on a variety of fronts.
  3. Relief would be granted to individuals brought to the U.S. at a young age by their parents.
  4. On the business side, additional visas would be made available to high-tech workers and a path to permanent residence would be created for those individuals earning U.S. graduate degrees in certain disciplines.
  5. Enforcement on the employment side would increase through the required use of the E-verify system.

The President has specified comprehensive immigration reform is a priority at the beginning of his second term.