(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
The U.S. Senate voted earlier this week to advance the so-called "Gang of Eight" immigration reform plan, despite critics saying the bill lacks significant border security provisions.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was one of those who voted to advance the bill to debate, and he has now suggested a proposal in relation to the bill he hopes will make the plans more acceptable to Republicans who remain skeptical.
Paul was speaking to a gathering of conservative Latino groups as he introduced a new proposal he called "Trust But Verify" that he believes should help to satisfy some doubters who are weary that the bill would ultimately provide a path to U.S. citizenship for more than 10 million illegal immigrants.
The proposal involves the Department of Homeland Security implementing various border security measures – one of which would see hundreds of miles of extra fencing being erected along the United States border with Mexico. The department would also have to provide an annual report on its progress to Congress.
In return Congress would hold a vote following the feedback on whether goals for the department had been met. Paul described that if the metrics are met, then each year a group of illegal immigrants would be eligible to obtain legal work visas.
Paul said, "My plan does not grant amnesty or move people to the front of the line. The solution is not amnesty or deportation. It's a middle ground that you might call probation."
The senator hoped that his proposals would address some of the concerns of skeptics of the reform plans. At present the proposals going through the Senate would grant illegal immigrants permanent residence status after a decade.
From that time those people would be able to obtain full U.S. citizenship three years later if they pay fines and taxes. Another caveat is that those people would need to ensure they had no problems with law enforcement over that period.