WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- Opponents to bipartisan immigration reform legislation said the proposal grants immediate amnesty to undocumented workers who broke the law.
"Like in 2007 [when immigration reform was considered], the special interests were brought in -- they've been engaged behind closed doors to help write the bill," Sen. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Thursday in a briefing before the bipartisan bill was presented. "Like 2007, this bill is amnesty before enforcement."
Sessions and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., voiced their concern surrounded by law enforcement officials just ahead of the official unveiling of the bipartisan bill, the Los Angles Times reported.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the immigration bill Friday.
The proposal presented Thursday would reinforce the U.S.-Mexico border with a double-layer fence and aerial drones and create a new guest worker program for laborers, housekeepers and others with similar low-skill jobs. Employers also would be required to verify the legal status of all workers.
The bill also would include a 13-year path to legal status, including citizenship, for 11 million people already in the United States illegally or whose visas have expired. They would have to pay fees, taxes and a $2,000 fine, among other things.
Accompanying the eight senators, four from each party, were representatives of business and labor.
"This is why we know we will succeed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the so-called Gang of Eight senators.