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Arizona ACLU points to problems with 'Gang of 8' immigration proposal

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill unveiled in Washington, DC, Thursday would potentially hand Customs and Border Patrol officials up to an additional $6.5 billion to secure the United States border with Mexico.

"There are some concerns we have and some very serious problems with the bill," says spokeswoman Alessandra Soler with the Arizona ACLU. "CBP's budget is larger than all other federal agencies combined."

While the Arizona ACLU heralds the bill as being historic, Soler questions the need for CBP's budget to increase by 50 percent, while it has, she says, already gone up 94 percent in the past eight years.

Soler also points to a provision contained in the legislation blocking a path to legal status for those immigrants with felony convictions. The provision would affect those immigrants swept up in Maricopa County job site raids.

"They're using fake Social Security numbers. There's no victim. They're people working here and contributing taxes," says Soler.

"Many of them make valuable contributions to our society and will provide even more if they are brought out of the shadows and in compliance with our laws," says Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.

The legislation calls for National Guard troops to return to the border to assist Customs and Border Patrol with enforcement efforts.

That effort would resemble "Operation Jump Start," which saw 6,000 troops on the U.S.-Mexico border between 2006 and 2008.

The number of allowable temporary visas for immigrants would nearly double from 65,00 to 110,000. Anyone in the country prior to Jan. 1, 2012, could apply as a registered provisional immigrant.

McCain's office released a 17-page summery of the proposed legislation, which you can read here.

The entire 844-page text of the legislation can be viewed here.

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