Sen. Jeff Flake: This plan is not amnesty - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Sen. Jeff Flake: This plan is not amnesty

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U.S. Senator Jeff Flake U.S. Senator Jeff Flake
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PHOENIX -

After years of political fighting between Democrats and Republicans about what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. -- finally, compromise.

Arizona Senator John McCain is one of the leading figures in a deal for immigration reform. McCain and Arizona Senator Jeff Flake are part of a group of eight Senators who crafted the legislation.

It would not outright grant citizenship to illegal immigrants, but it would create a system that would allow many of them to stay and work legally in the U.S.

The group wants to make it easier for immigrants to get work visas if they're looking for jobs in agriculture, low skill jobs, or those that require advanced degrees.

"They have to pay back taxes, they have to have a non-criminal record. They have to learn English. They have to be able to understand and study our history. They have to get in line behind everyone else. They will be granted legal status, but then they get behind everyone else who has waited legally for green card status," said Sen. McCain.

Under the plan, security along the border would have to be tightened first. There would be better tracking of people in the country on visas, and a more efficient verification system for employers.

"Nobody can adjust their status or get on a path to citizenship until a commission compromised of governors, attorneys general and community people at the local level on the border can sign off that these border measures we have taken are effective," said Sen. Flake.

Video: Senator Jeff Flake joined us via satellite from Washington to explain what his plan entails and what it doesn't entail. He also talks about how the attitude in Washington has changed regarding immigration.

The Senate and the House still need to vote on the legislation. Tuesday, the president is set to unveil his immigration reform plans with a speech in Las Vegas.

To see the full press conference:

Immigration press conference (Part 1 of 3)

Immigration press conference (Part 2 of 3)

Immigration press conference (Part 3 of 3)

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