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The complete guide to immigration reform

Illegal Immigration signWith so many proposals for immigration reform floating around Washington these days, it’s hard to keep track of what’s in each of them.

As a result, Red Alert Politics has taken the time to dissect three of the major immigration reform proposals on the table to show you what each of them encompasses and where the major differences in the plans can be found.

The three plans we have chosen to highlight are those presented by President Barack Obama, the so-called “Gang of Eight” in the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).


Immigration Reform Plan Path to Citizenship Improved Security Security Trigger Employer Verification Program Special Pathway Fines/Back-Taxes Improve Legal Immigration
White House


Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gang of Eight


Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Rand Paul


Yes Yes No No No Yes


Pathway to Citizenship:

All three of the plans provide some type of pathway to citizenship for a majority of non-criminal illegal immigrants already in the country. Some confusion has been caused by whether Paul’s plan supports a pathway to citizenship, but he has since confirmed that it does.

Improved Security:

All three plans call for improvements in border security.

Security Trigger:

Both the Gang of Eight’s and Paul’s plans require there to be specific security measures in place before any illegal immigrant already in the country to apply for permanent residence or a path to citizenship.

Under the Gang of Eight’s plan, illegal immigrants can register with the federal government, pass background checks and pay fines and back taxes to earn “probationary legal status” but cannot apply for permanent residency or a path to citizenship until a commission made up of lawmakers and leaders from border states confirm that the border is completely secure.

Sen. Paul’s plan states that the border control and an inspector general would have to verify that the border was secured before any illegal aliens could begin applying for legalization. Paul also supports having Congress agree annually for five years that the borders were becoming more secure before any of his other proposed reforms could be pursued.

The White House’s immigration plan allows other aspects of the bill to go into effect regardless whether security border measures are successful. It has denied that a security trigger would be a deal-breaker for an immigration reform plan.

Employment Verification Program:

The plans proposed by the White House and the Gang of Eight both include increased penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants, as well as the implementation of a mandatory electronic verification system within five years, with exceptions granted to some small businesses.

Sen. Paul opposes these measures, saying in his speech Tuesday morning that he does not want to force “businesses to become policemen.”

Special Pathway:

Under the White House’s plan, illegal immigrants can automatically receive a temporary visa and then pursue an expedited path towards permanent residency.

The Senate Gang of Eight’s plan requires illegal immigrants to get a probationary visa for an extended period and then apply for permanent residence by getting in the back of the same line used by immigrants that come to the country legally. Rand Paul has similarly signaled that he would oppose a special pathway and force illegal immigrants to get behind legal immigrants in applying for permanent residence and eventual citizenship.

Fines/Back Taxes:

The White House plan requires illegal immigrants to register, pass background checks and pay fees and penalties to earn a provisional legal status. The Senate plan also requires illegal immigrants to pay fines and back taxes in order to earn probationary legal status.

Rand Paul does not require that illegals pay any fines or back taxes to gain legal residence, as he believes that the fines are “prohibitive.”

Legal Immigration:

All three plans have measures built in to simplify and grow legal immigration.

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