The conceptual proposal for immigration reform by Reid, Schumer and Menendez lays out the basic structure of what they want the CIR bill to contain. Here’s the basic framework of the plan:

1. Border security – increased efforts to secure the border BEFORE action is taken to adjust the status of anyone already in the U.S. illegally. The security efforts include increased resources (people, money and equipment) to detect and prevent illegal entry.
2. Detection of unauthorized presence – equip all ports of entry with “US-VISIT” (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) to track when any person overstays their status in the U.S. Plus, criminals in federal, state and local prisons may be checked for lawful immigration status.
3. Increased penalties for violators – increase in penalties for foriegn nationals who violate immigration laws and 300% increase for employers who employ unauthorized individuals.
4. Biometric employment verification – the Social Security Administration to implement biometric social security cards within 18 months of enactment of the law. The cards will only serve as evidence of lawful work authorization.
5. Employment verification – replacing E-verify with BELIEVE (Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment) which would be phased in within approximately 6 years after the law is enacted. Within 5 years the biometric social security card would be the only acceptable document for employment verification under the BELIEVE system.
6. High-skilled immigrants – a green card immediately available to foreign students with advanced degree from a U.S. institution in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields of study if they have a job offer from a U.S. employer in the field of study.
7. H-1b – increased provisions of H-1b including requiring internet postings to try to hire U.S. workers and limiting the number of H-1b’s for an employer of 50 or more workers.
8. L-1 – limiting L-1b specialized knowledge to one year if the worker is placed at a third-party site. Also, adding wage rates and working conditions to the L-1 category.
9. H-2C – creating an H-2C category for non-season, non-agricultural workers (example: nurses) that would be valid for three years and renewable for a total of six years. It would also be dual intent and allow for portability to another employer after one year of employment. The annual cap would fluctuate based upon unemployment and economic factor, however, an employer could obtain a worker despite the cap if the employer engages in additional recruitment and pays a premium fee.
10. Visa backlog recapture of unused visa numbers, increasing the per country limit from 7% to 10%, eliminating the family backlog within 8 years and classifying spouses and children of lawful permanent residents as “immediate relatives”. Also, the creation of a Commission on Employment-based immigration that would allow for fluctuations in visa numbers.

House Republican Leader John Boehner says there’s “not a chance” immigration reform will pass this year. He said, “We ought to have an immigration reform move through congress but you can’t do immigration reform in the middle of a boiling, political pot here in Washington, D.C.” He also said efforts by Senator Charles Schumer and others to move on an immigration bill is “nothing more than a cynical ploy to try to engage some segment of voters to show up in this November’s elections.”