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Bipartisan immigration bill introduced in Senate

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A new bipartisan immigration bill has been unveiled by the U.S. Senate, which if passed into law would provide a legal path to immigration for millions of illegal immigrants formerly denied such an opportunity.

Illegal immigrants would have to pay $2,000 in fines as well as some fees to embark on a 13-year path to legal citizenship, which would only come into play once the United States has secured its southern border.

If undocumented citizens arrived in the U.S. prior to Dec. 31, 2011 and stayed continuously since, the bill would allow them to apply for provisional legal status as soon as six months after it's signed by the president, reports Reuters.

The new legislation would also create new immigration opportunities for both low and high skilled workers, wrote the Associated Press, while employers would be under more pressure to verify the immigration status of their employees.

The bill also will pour billions into new border control methods, noted the Washington Post, including 3,500 new federal agents on the Mexican border, surveillance drones, and other high tech technqiues.

A bipartisan effort, four Democratic senators - Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado - were joined by four Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida in crafting the bill.

The group of senators behind the bill had planned on holding a Tuesday press release, but canceled the event in light of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Immigration reform rally, Capitol lawn, April 10, 2013

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