Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who recently launched his presidential campaign, says that big immigration reforms are impossible now. However, he stated that he would implement a three-step immigration plan if he wins the White House in 2016. His plan would allow some undocumented immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. However, that would happen only after border security reforms happen.
Rubio was a part of the Gang of Eight that came up with an immigration reform bill. That bill was passed by the U.S. Senate but was blasted by the Republicans and the conservatives who said that it rewards undocumented immigrants and does not focus on strengthening border security.
Rubio says that he now understands what the Americans want. He says that the American people do not want one big reform, they want the issue to be addresses in pieces. He told CBS News that if he becomes the President, he would first do what is possible to boost border security. Followed by that, steps would be taken to prevent U.S. employers from hiring undocumented immigrants.
Once he wins the White House, Rubio would also ask the U.S. Congress to pass bills to streamline e-verify. His plan would include having an entry-exit tracking system for non-immigrants, to prevent visa overstays.
Once border security is achieved, Rubio’s plan would be to modernize the U.S. immigration system. He says that the immigration system would be reformed in such a way that the allotment of visas would be more merit-based and not family-based. His last step would be to allow the country’s undocumented immigrants to stay here legally, under strict conditions.
To stay back in the U.S. legally and to work here, those living here without documentation would be required to learn English, pay fines and taxes and get work permits. They would initially be granted temporary legal status. Those who don’t violate the conditions of that temporary status would be allowed to apply for legal permanent resident status. This process of obtaining legal permanent resident status would be the same for all immigrants including those coming here legally and not a new one. Finally, his plan would let them apply for full citizenship in the U.S.