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Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Unveil Immigration Bill

A group of eight bipartisan Senators has reached broad compromise on immigration reform.

The Gang of Eight, as they've come to be known, released highlights of the bill this afternoon. ABC News reports the bill would:

"allow many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants to seek U.S. citizenship, but only after the federal government implements stricter border security standards and cracks down on employers who hire undocumented workers, according to a 17-page outline of the bill provided by Senate sources to Univision and ABC News.

"The bill also makes significant changes to how foreigners can legally immigrate to the United States in the future. These changes are designed to ease the process, especially for those seeking work here."

The document also says that only immigrants who came to the country before Dec. 31, 2011 are elegible. Those undocumented immigrants will have to pay $500 plus "assessed taxes, per adult applicant in addition to all applicable fees required to pay for the cost of processing the application."

Those convicted of serious crimes are not eligible to obtain legal status.

The sticking point of this bill, reports CNN, is the border security provision.

"There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it," CNN reports. "Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent 'unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States.'"

The Washington Post reports that the bill is a "win for high-tech firms" because it sharply increases "the number of visas given out each year for high-skilled foreign workers."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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