Source: AP / Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON — White House-backed immigration legislation gained momentum in the Senateon Thursday as lawmakers closed in on a bipartisan compromise to spend tens of billions of dollars stiffening the bill’s border security requirements without delaying legalization for millions already living in the country unlawfully.
“Once the Senate adopts our amendment, I will be proud to vote for a bill that secures our border and respects our heritage as an immigrant nation,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said in a statement. Additional GOP support was expected as a result of the package of changes that some backers dubbed a “border surge” and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said “practically militarizes” the U.S. border with Mexico.
Under the emerging compromise, the government would — under certain conditions — grant legal status to immigrants living in the United States illegally at the same time the additional security was being put into place. Green cards, which signify permanent residency status, would be withheld until the security steps were complete.
In addition, immigrants would not be able to claim credit for Social Security taxes they paid while working without lawful status. Credits are used to determine the amount in Social Security benefits a worker receives after retirement.
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