On Monday, a bipartisan group of US Senators unveiled a comprehensive plan to reform the current United States immigration system.
The immigration blueprint calls for a path to citizenship for those who are currently residing illegally in the U.S., but with the caveat that the U.S. borders be strengthened. The plan would also make it easier for low-skill and agricultural workers to obtain legal work visas and would offer green cards to those who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in math, science, or technology. The plan also includes improvements in tracking expired visas.
The bipartisan group of Senators who created the plan, called the "Gang of Eight," includes Republicans John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Jeff Flake (AZ). Democrats who worked on the plan are Charles Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ), and Michael Bennet (CO).
Senator McCain told media host George Stephanopoulos, "We can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status." Senator Charles Schumer told reporters that while Democrats may compromise on border security, "there's a bottom line, and that's a path to citizenship for the 11 or so million people who qualify. We've made great, great progress with our Republican colleagues."
President Obama is scheduled to announce his goals for immigration reform at an event in Nevada on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the White House said in a statement, "As the president has made clear for some time, immigration reform is an important priority and he is pleased that progress is being made with bipartisan support... At the same time, he will not be satisfied until there is meaningful reform and he will continue to urge Congress to act until that is achieved."
Media Resources: CBS 1/28/2013; New York Times 1/28/2013; Reuters 1/28/2013
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .