What’s in the Immigration Bill?

June 11, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Starting on June 11 at 2:15 p.m., the U.S. Senate is discussing,after a vote to proceed, a bill that would re-shape immigration policy in the country. A vote on the actual bill is expected not to happen until July 4 or later.

What’s in the bill? Here are some of the key parts:


-Allows millions of undocumented immigrants to apply for a green card after 10 years in the country, then apply for citizenship three years later

-Requires immigrants to be proficient in English or show that they are enrolled in a language course

-Allocates $100 million for start-up costs, and another $6.5 billion in a trust fund, as well as money garnered from travel fees and visa fees

-Adds $1 billion of border fencing; parts not covered by fencing would be monitored by drones and radars

-Adds 3,500 more U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers by Sept. 30, 2017

-Gives the authority to construct additional border patrol stations in the southwest border region


Senators will discuss and change the bill through many amendments from now through at least July 4. It appears that a bipartisan agreement may be emerging, but “what comprehensive reform looks like to each party will no doubt require compromise,” writes Audrey Singer, senior fellow in the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. 

Amendments to the bill include:

-No fees collected from people crossing into or out of the United States, as well as a prohibition of any study of imposing such a fee (Leahy)

-An audit on the $6.5 billion trust fund must be conducted either on Oct. 1 of each year after the enactment of the bill. The audit would be made available to the public on the internet. (Grassley)

-Ensure humane conditions for children in the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border agency, including adequate medical care and nutrition. (Feinstein)

-Required completion of a border fence in five years, and establishing a national identification card system for citizens. (Paul)

-An apprehension rate of 90 percent of people illegally crossing the border. (Cornyn) 

-Require immigrants to prove they have paid back taxes, and ban new citizens from Affordable Care Act subsidies for five years. (Hatch)  

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