Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) announced Tuesday that after numerous closed-door meetings, his immigration group has come to a “grand bargain” that stresses the need to secure the country’s borders.
“We have come to an agreement on what we call a ‘grand bargain,’ which is the outline of an immigration bill,” Specter said on the Senate floor. “There is no doubt that we want to secure the border and stop illegal immigration as the first item.”
Specter said the “grand bargain” would include funding for fencing along the border and would send an additional 6,000 agents to the border, bringing the total to 12,000.
The bill will also mandate strong employer sanctions against employing illegal immigrants, as a way to shift the focus toward identifying illegal immigrants residing in the U.S.
The senator added that the group has decided to put discussion of a guest-worker program on hold until steps are taken to secure the borders. The committee is “rejecting the idea of amnesty for the 11 million undocumented immigrants,” he said.
“We are trying to structure a temporary-worker program that is temporary,” he added. But he said that illegal immigrants would be given a pathway to citizenship that includes paying back taxes, learning English and providing an extensive work history in the U.S.