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Real change unlikely under immigration reform
Now that the election is over, some of the first signs of bipartisanship are making themselves apparent in Washington with immigration reform ideas presented by both a group of senators and President Obama.
Like most bipartisan plans, there's something for everyone to dislike in any legislation that's likely to result.
For now, it looks like we can expect the following:
* Before a "pathway to citizenship" is cleared, expect the border to be tightened up. That will mean more border patrol agents, drones and surveillance equipment along the border, along with tougher treatment of immigrants who have overstayed their visas.
* Undocumented immigrants will have to register with the government, pay penalties and back taxes and undergo background checks, learn English and maybe even get a civics lesson. Then, they go to the back of the line until every legal immigrant ahead of them receives a green card first.
* Children brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants will receive special treatment, as well agricultural workers -- provided farms and other employers show no American worker was available for the job. President Obama would also require them to go to college or serve in the military before earning their citizenship.
* Foreign students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who complete advance degrees will have an easy time obtaining green cards.
* The E-Verify system will probably be upgraded and bosses who knowingly hire undocumented workers will likely face civil or criminal penalties. Obama favors giving current undocumented workers a short deadline for registering in the national database, and those found to be using fake Social Security cards or false identities will be punished promptly.
While an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants will be offered a chance to come in from the cold, we have a feeling many will simply choose to continue to work off the books and under the radar.