Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released new analysis of the numbers of current and estimated future immigrants. The bipartisan Senate “Gang of 8” immigration bill, S. 744, which was introduced on April 23, lays out a clear road map to citizenship for the 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, and creates a system to handle future immigration in an orderly and fair way. The bill clears the backlog of green cards that has meant decades-long waiting times for families to reunite and for America to benefit from critically needed workers. Most importantly, it moves what has been a chaotic process of unauthorized entry into legal channels by combining increased border security and workplace enforcement with enhanced legal means to enter the country.
Opponents of the bill have and will continue to insist that S. 744 will bring in large numbers of immigrants in an attempt to scare the public. In reality, however, 150,000 fewer people will enter the country each year under the Senate plan. (see table below)
While it is true that up to 11 million people will be provided a road map to citizenship, these people are already living here. Likewise, anyone currently waiting for a green card on a backlog has already qualified for a visa based on family or employment sponsorship — these people will come regardless of immigration reform. S. 744 simply shortens the waiting times for families and employers. Even accepting that some small number of unauthorized immigrants will arrive in the future, the United States will still see fewer people entering the country each year once the Senate immigration plan becomes law.
The Senate bill provides a coherent and controlled admissions process that will ensure that those entering the United States come through orderly channels.