Cruz later tried to require that the number of U.S. border patrol agents be tripled on the U.S.-Mexico border and the amount of equipment stationed there be quadrupled before any immigrant could apply for a change in legal status.
Also rejected was Sessions’ call for construction of 700 miles of double-fencing along the Mexican border. Hatch opposed Cruz’ proposal and supported the other changes that were rejected. He has not yet declared a position on the legislation, although he is expected to be heavily influenced by the number of visas it approves for workers in the high-tech industry, which has a significant presence in Utah.
Eager to demonstrate their openness to changes, Democrats stressed that they had agreed to a number of Republican proposals.
One, advanced by Grassley, specifies that a requirement for 90 percent of would-be border crossers to be stopped or turned back must apply to the entire southern border, not just ‘‘high-risk’’ sectors.
But a verdict on perhaps the most contentious proposal — to assure that immigrants in the country illegally are treated the same regardless of sexual orientation — is not expected to come to a vote until next week or the week after. Gay rights groups are adamantly seeking the provision be inserted into the measure, but Republicans have warned that could splinter the coalition behind the bill and doom its chances for passage.
The legislation was drafted by Democratic Sens. Schumer and Dick Durbin of Illinois, who are on the committee, and Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado, who are not, as well as Flake and Graham and Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona.
Under the legislation as drafted, immigrants who entered the United States illegally before Dec. 31, 2011, and have been in the country since then may apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status. To qualify, they must pass a background check, have no serious criminal conviction on their record, pay any back taxes they owe and a pair of $500 fines.
At the end of a decade, they may apply for permanent residency, pay an additional fine of $1,000 and meet other requirements. After an additional three years, they may apply for naturalization.
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