WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate voted Monday 66-25 to approve an amendment that will funnel another $30 billion to border enforcement, place several obstacles along the path to legalization, prohibit the Social Security Administration from counting taxes paid by unauthorized workers, and prohibit noncitizens from accessing welfare.
Under the amendment, proposed by John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., certain conditions will have to be met before undocumented immigrants -- except for DREAMers and agricultural workers -- can get green cards. Among the requirements are doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to close to 40,000; completing the double border wall 1,126 kilometers long; implementing a verification system throughout the country; and implementing an exit and entry system for all ports of entry by land and sea.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that immigration reform would reduce the federal defecit by $197 billion over 10 years.
No Social Security or Welfare
After intense negotiations, the Hoeven-Corker amendment gained the support of Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who added two provisions to the proposal. One prohibits the Social Security Administration from counting taxes paid by unauthorized workers, and prohibits unauthorized workers from accessing Social Security benefits. The other prevents noncitizens from receiving welfare.
The Senate is expected to hold its final vote on the immigration reform bill this week.
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