“This is not just a debate about policy. … It’s about men and women and young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the American story,” he declared to applause.
Once an immigrant become a citizen, he has full access to legal rights, welfare and health-care programs, grants and subsidies, the ballot box and the right to seek residency rights for relatives.
Eligible relatives include the new citizen’s parents and minor children, as well as siblings. In turn, once those people are admitted, they can petition to win green cards for their relatives.
Schumer echoed Obama’s priorities on Thursday.
“We are not using border security as an excuse or block to path of citizenship,” he said in the press conference.
The blueprint’s call for a secure border will help make a deal, but won’t be linked to citizenship awards or be allowed to block or trigger citizenship for illegals, he said.
“We just want to make sure, this is very important both substantively and politically, that there is a secure border, [but] we are not going to use it as a battering ram to prevent the 11 million from gaining a path to citizenship.”
Schumer also shot down a suggestion that an outside group — such as a panel of state governors — could be given the power to decide when the border is secure.
That decision, sometimes dubbed a “trigger,” can’t be delegated to a committee, he said.
“It would be unconstitutional to delegate things to that committee,” he said.
He downplayed worries that a White House-appointed DHS secretary would begin the amnesty before the committee was convinced the border is secure.
“The advisory committee and the DHS will in all likelihood agree” when the border is secure and the 11 million can get citizenship, he said.
However, Schumer was happy to praise Rubio for his role in the deal.
“I want to also really praise Sen. McCain, Graham and Rubio, for their leadership, their strength, their courage …. [and] I look forward to working with them.”