Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday that a new GOP bill to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws would focus on helping Americans find work in a “nation of immigrants.”
The Senate voted unanimously to pass a “Plan to Rebuild American Leadership,” which would overhaul the federal immigration system to make it more “productive and fair” and bring down immigration levels to near historic lows.
The bill would create a commission to develop a new immigration reform plan, which would be put to the Senate floor in July.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said it’s an effort to address “the real crisis of the 21st century,” while Sen. David Perdue, R of Georgia, said the bill is a response to the “real crisis of our nation today.”
“I believe the American Dream is still in the air, and I want to help make it a reality,” Perdue said.
The House passed the bill in December and President Donald Trump signed it into law on Jan. 3.
The GOP bill would grant temporary amnesty to about 750,000 people and would let up to 10,000 of them remain in the country for up to two years.
It would also allow businesses to hire undocumented immigrants and require employers to pay for their legal and other costs.
The plan would also provide a pathway to citizenship for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
In the House, Cruz, a former federal prosecutor, said that if enacted, the bill would make it easier for people to get ahead and provide a “safe harbor” for those who have been in the U for at least five years.
Cruz, who voted against the House version, said it is necessary to address a crisis that has been “a problem of unprecedented proportions.”
“This bill is not just about creating jobs.
It is about creating a better America.
And we are creating a more just America.
That is why the American people will reject this legislation,” Cruz said.
But Rep. John Culberson, R, Texas, told reporters that the bill could have unintended consequences, particularly for young people.
“I don’t know that it will have much effect on kids because it’s still a young person’s amnesty,” Culbenson said.
“But I do know that a lot of parents of young people are going to be less likely to come forward and get their kids out of the shadows.
They’re going to say, ‘If I’m not going to come to this country, I won’t be able to have a future in America.'”
Cruz’s comments on Tuesday come after a Trump administration official said last week that Trump supports a pathway-to-citizenship proposal that would allow for work authorization for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years or more.
The White House also has said it would allow the construction of a wall along the U,S.-Mexico border and a plan to block all undocumented immigrants from seeking to come into the U without a visa.
The two proposals are opposed by several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, R. Ariz.