At 2:00 a.m. this morning, the "Gang of 8" released its attempt at an immigration reform proposal. The bipartisan proposal is 840-plus pages long, took months of negotiation, and it has a long road ahead. While it will take a while for our experts in D.C. to analyze the full content, here is what we do know about immigration reform, and the proposal, so far:
- The text offers a pathway to citizenship, an historic advance that will help ensure that 11 million people living in and contributing to the United States can be brought into the full legal embrace of citizenship. This is a HUGE breakthrough.
- The text raises some civil liberties concerns, including the potential introduction of mandatory e-Verify, an intrusive employee verification system that could lead us down the path to a national ID system. As the ACLU's Chris Calabrese wrote earlier today: "Gathering a huge pool of data will be an identity thief's dream. Moves to mandatory E-Verify will create a bureaucracy and privacy risk that will affect us all. And all of this costs money - lots of it."
- The majority of Americans support fair immigration reform. According to ACLU legislative director Laura Murphy: "The data from a new poll released yesterday that was commissioned by CAMBIO, a new coalition for immigration reform, confirms what we have long known – that the American people agree wholeheartedly that all people in the United States, including immigrants, have fundamental rights under our Constitution."
Now Congress goes to work on the bill, and we could have votes in the House and Senate by the end of the summer. Until then the ACLU of Maine and our partners nationwide will be fighting to ensure that immigration reform upholds American values and the promises of the Constitution.
You can help: go here to remind Maine's delegation that the reform effort MUST protect civil liberties.
Check back here for updates!