Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 10:25 PM
By Matthew Auerbach

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced Wednesday that they’ve come together to present a number of amendments designed to tighten the parameters of the immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate, the Hill reports.

Rubio and Hatch offered up four amendments that would individually require illegal immigrants to provide proof of payment of any and all back taxes, prevent them from receiving cash welfare payments, install a five-year waiting period after being issued a green card before being eligible to receive tax credits and subsidies under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and limit access to Social Security retirement benefits to anyone without a legal work permit.

Rubio, one of the so-called Gang of Eight senators involved with drafting the bill, sees the amendments as a way to temper the fears and concerns some of his colleagues have about the bill.

“Since the immigration legislation was introduced two months ago, many valid concerns have been raised about ways the American people could potentially get stuck with the bill of fixing our broken immigration system, particularly as it relates to federal benefits,” Rubio said.

Hatch, who is considered another major force in getting the legislation through the Senate, thinks the bill will ultimately benefit those who have come to this country for all the right reasons.

“The overwhelming majority of those that have come to our shores come not in search of a handout from American taxpayers, but rather in search of creating a stronger foundation for themselves and the generations who will come after them,” Hatch said.

The Wall Street Journal reports that of the four amendments presented by Hatch and Rubio, the requirement to offer proof of payment of back taxes as well as an individual’s work history has raised the eyebrows of colleagues from their own party.

“I’d like to have people pay any back taxes owed, illegal immigrants, legal residents, U.S. citizens, just make sure it’s practical and you’re collecting more than it costs to enforce it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Sen, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also voiced his concerns.

“It really is difficult right now to go in assess back taxes,” Flake said.

Flake believes the better path is to wait until immigrants have renewed their provisional status after six years, at which time it would be much easier to ensure they have been paying taxes.