Another hot button issue awaits Congress and Sen. Mike Johanns says he’s waiting to see what emerges from negotiations on immigration reform.
Johanns says the so-called Gang of Eight, four Democrats and four Republicans, have been working on a compromise measure.
Johanns, a Republican, says a number of issues must be resolved for immigration reform to move forward.
“I think the toughest issue is the 12 million that are here illegally and I’ve said from the very beginning I don’t want them moving to the front of the line,” Johanns says. “I don’t believe they should get any advantage toward citizenship, because they came here illegally.”
The New York Times reports the bill that the Gang of Eight is preparing will include a merit-based program for immigrants to become residents based on work skills, rather than family ties. The Times says people familiar with a draft of the legislation would signal a shift away from family ties, the foundation of the current immigration system.
The legislation purportedly would include measures to help the nearly 5 million immigrants who have applied to come to the United States legally, but have seen their applications for green cards languish, immigrate to the country.
The bill would include a path to citizenship for nearly 12 million immigrants who have entered the country illegally.
The legislation could be formally unveiled later this week during a committee hearing.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:35]