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first_imgWASHINGTON – As the U.S. Senate heads this week for a vote on immigration reform, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is trying to reshape it with a biometric “orange card.” The proposal by California’s senior senator is the latest attempt to significantly change a compromise bill that would create a tiered system granting green cards to millions of illegal immigrants based on how long they’ve been in the U.S. Feinstein, who has called that approach “unrealistic,” aims to replace it with a single process that legalizes all undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2006, and also meet other requirements like criminal background checks. “If a bipartisan majority agrees that an earned legalization program is a critical part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, then the program must work on the streets,” Feinstein said Monday on the Senate floor. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsHer amendment – which could come for a vote today – would require all illegal immigrants to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks and register with the Homeland Security Department for an “orange card” application. Applicants would have to pass a criminal and national security check; demonstrate English language and U.S. history proficiency; pay back taxes; and pay a $2,000 fine. Those who qualified would be issued a biometric card allowing them to live and work legally in the U.S., as well as travel in and out of the country. Then, after six years of provable work history and tax payment, they could apply for a green card. An immigrant’s “place in line” for a green card would correspond to the length of time he or she had been in the U.S., with those in the country the longest considered first. Feinstein estimated it could take eight to 12 more years for final adjustment of status. “Here we have a pathway that requires an individual to show over a substantial period of time that they have been and will continue to be a responsible and productive member of America society,” Feinstein said. “This is not amnesty. Nothing happens immediately. If an individual cannot demonstrate these things, they will not receive a green card at the end of this long pathway, and then at that time they are deportable,” she said. A number of Democrats have expressed support for Feinstein’s plan, including Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The measure is similar to one that Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., proposed earlier this year. Yet with votes coalescing around the compromise bill known as the Hagel-Martinez legislation (named for its authors Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Mel Martinez, R-Fla.,) immigration analysts say Feinstein stands little chance. “People have now made a commitment to the compromise,” said Tamar Jacoby, an immigration expert at the Manhattan Institute. She agreed with Feinstein that the tiered approach poses problems, but said it now has momentum behind it and is the vehicle immigration advocates are counting on. The Hagel-Martinez bill requires illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. fewer than two years to voluntarily leave the country or be deported. Those who have been in the U.S. more than two years would have to leave the country for a background check but then be readmitted. Those who have been here longer than five years could stay in the country while applying for an adjustment of status. [email protected] (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more