There was rare good news from Washington last week, as eight senators—four from each party—announced a “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

The so-called Gang of Eight proposed a “tough but fair path” to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that would commence only after the federal government secured the borders and put in place systems to prevent foreigners from overstaying their visas and to help employers verify that any new hires are legal.

This “border-security first” approach would require those now in America without permission to surface, register with immigration officials, and pass a background check. Any person with a serious criminal record or who poses a national-security threat would be deported. The rest would have to pay fines and back taxes to earn “probationary legal status.”

Then they would have to wait to begin the process of applying for a green card and (if they choose) for citizenship until after a commission of border-state governors, attorneys general and community leaders affirm that the border is under operational control.

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