The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 25, 2013

Senate passage of immigration bill on track

(Continued)

Senate Democrats were unified on the vote.

Republicans were anything but on a bill that some party leaders say offers the GOP a chance to show a more welcoming face to Hispanic voters, but which tea party-aligned lawmakers assail as amnesty for those who have violated the law.

At its core, the Senate bill would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The measure also would create a new program for temporary farm laborers to come into the country, and another for lower-skilled workers to emigrate permanently. At the same time, it calls for an expansion of an existing visa program for highly-skilled workers, a gesture to high-tech companies that rely heavily on foreigners.

In addition to border security, the measure phases in a mandatory program for employers to verify the legal status of potential workers, and calls for a separate program to track the comings and goings of foreigners at the nation's seaports and airports.

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